In Times of Turmoil, Ordinary People Act in Extraordinary Ways. Discuss.

In Geraldine Brooks historical novel Year of Wonders, the Bubonic Plague (1665-1666) is explored and the effects it has on the people of Eyam. Through the eyes of young, protagonist Anna Frith, we are shown how normal villagers can act in remarkable ways due to this traumatic event. Some people shine throughout the ordeal and others disgust us in the way they act. The novel shows the positive and negative aspects of the horrible plague.

Some villagers step up the the occasion and show compassion and whole- hearted kindness through the times of hardship. Anna goes through a traumatic childhood, becomes a widow very early in her life and loses both of her sons yet still manages to help the town during their time of need. She risks her own life with Elinor Mompellion by going down the mine even though she has been ‘afraid of mines’ since she lost her husband in a mining accident, to try help Merry Wickford. This amazing gesture shows a lot of courage and Anna rises to the occasion and does it, just to help a young life. Another occasion is when she delivers the baby of Mary Daniels. Her face turns ‘pale’ because she remembers how her own mother died during child birth. This past event has scarred her yet she still finds the strength to continue with the delivery. She carries out all these astonishing gestures in the spirit of Elinor. She always tried to ‘be the woman Elinor wished’ for her to be. The strength Elinor leaves in Anna helps her to act in extraordinary ways throughout the plague. The horrific ordeal that distresses the town makes Anna perform remarkable tasks.

Leaders become even better people in hope to conquer the Bubonic Plague. Michael Mompellion rises to the occasion and uses his power of being a Rector to convince the village to ‘stay here, in the place you know.’ He says a remarkable, dangerous thing which promises the villagers that if they stay in Eyam, Michael can defeat the ‘venom in the blood.’ He shows the village that he can be an...