Year of Wonders

Year of Wonders: Jon Milston, Sexton, says ‘These times do make monsters of ourselves’. Is this a fair assessment of the town’s folk of Eyam, living under Quarantine?

Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, is a complex exploration of how human nature can change a whole community. The plague has begun and has settled amongst each individual of the town; this is where the emotion of fear becomes revealed, with people turning against one another to try find answers. When Mompellion brings the town together, he deploys all his eloquence to the villagers to begin Quarantine, as he is committed to his religion and wants the people to realise that this is why the plague has occurred. As more and more people begin to die of the plague each person around them is losing faith and giving up.

The community of Eyam are searching for answers as they cannot handle the grief of what is happening around them. As they begin to point fingers at one another the only thing they have in mind is superstition. This brings out the fear in each individual when a group of villagers go searching for a solution. They cowardly attack and abuse Mem and Anys Gowdie, to whom they think are responsible, they then kill a human being who was there to help and cure the community. Mompellion puts them on their knees and begins to ask them questions, questions of uncertainty and questions to make them realise what satin acts they have made.   Listening to Mompellion leads them to believe that it is God they need to look upon in order to control their grief.

Mompellion is faithful to his religion and brings the community together to express his thoughts on quarantine. As he persuades each individual, he tells them that God has given them the plague as a ‘gift’ and as a ‘casket of gold’. He speaks that they must look to Jesus as an example and to love one another, and that those who have sinned may redeem themselves. This is making individual’s follow that religion is the cause of this occurrence,...