Michael Mompellion's Sermon

Language Analysis on Michael Mompellion’s sermon
Michael Mompellion’s sermon is an excerpt taken from the novel Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, encased in the chapter Venom in the Blood. As Eyam is the plague ridden village the issue generating in this excerpt is the villagers desire to flee the town and risk spreading the contagion. The deliverer of the Sermon, Mompellion, contends that the villagers should remain quarantined in Eyam as a self sacrifice in order to prevent the death and suffering of the rest of the world due to the Bubonic Plague. The utilisation of various appeals such as fear, sacrifice and responsibility combined with language techniques such as rhetoric, inclusive language and metaphor fashion an evocative tone.
Brooks writing under the guise of Mompellion attempts to persuade the congregation that they should stay in Eyam to take on the sacrifice as Jesus did. An appeal to sacrifice is clear through the use of quotation of the Scriptures “greater love no man hath than this that he lay down his life for a friend”. The ideal role model Jesus’ decision to save the entire world through self sacrifice is used as a parallel to convince a highly religious congregation to do such on a smaller scale. To further this appeal to sacrifice Mompellion blatantly suggests “we may emulate our Blessed Lord…. Who amongst us would not seize such a chance?” The employment of inclusive language followed up with a rhetorical question implies that not only is the opportunity to protect others salvation going to empower them for saving others but also that the village will get through the experience with the guidance and   love of each other.
The Rector argues that the terrors that await those who flee will be much worse than those who are quarantined while appealing to responsibility to convince the villagers to stay in Eyam. He questions “what burden would we bear if, because of us, hundreds die who might have lived?”. This rhetoric stirs up fear in the...