Year of Wonders Essay – Characters Encountering Conflict Year of Wonders is a deeply moving novel containing heartbreaking themes and stark reality. The novel is based in Eyam, a small English village, in 1666 and written from the point of view of Anna Frith, a non-affluent maid who lost her two young sons and husband to the plague which swept through their village. One of the novels primary themes is conflict, and throughout the book the responder can discover how each of the characters deal with the conflicting issues they are faced with.
With ‘Year of Wonders’ written in first person from Anna’s point of view, the reader get’s to experience her emotions and actions which have been caused by the conflict she is experiencing. Anna reacts physically, emotionally and spiritually to the conflict she is faced with during the time of the Plague. At certain points in the novel, Anna reacts spiritually to not so much a particular event, but as the events of the plague roll out. Anna frequently doubts her belief in God when the prayers of the community are left unanswered and the town is left wondering why God persists with the Plague.
Anna rhetorically questioned her mind many times, an example of this being, “And why should this good woman lie here, in such extremity, when a man like my father lived to waste his reason in drunkenness? ” It was situations like these where Anna couldn’t understand God’s actions and why he was doing this, which led to her doubting her belief. A conflict of peace between two parties, The Bradfords and most of Eyam arises when the Bradfords decide to flee the town in an attempt to escape the Plague.
Mr Mompellion, as the priest of their church, and a father-like figure to most of the community, takes a strong reaction to this. Mr. Mompellion does not support the Bradfords actions and believes they are letting down the community. At the beginning of the novel, in spring 1665, Elizabeth Bradford goes to Mr. Mompellion seeking help for her sick mother, Mr. Mompellion though refuses to see her, as the following quote displays, “And with that he turned his back and climbed the stairs to his room, closing the door behind him.
A personal conflict Anna must deal with during the time of the plague is losing her two sons, Jamie and Tom, whom she loved. In the process of grieving, Anna has trouble sleeping, and so takes the “poppy” drug to assist her. This physical reaction to conflict in her life proves thee hard events that she is faced with. When the poppy wears off each time, Anna always desires more, which the following quote describes “Surely there must have been some poppy fruits hanging there among the goldenseals and the burdock? Perhaps there were already carefully prepared tinctures, put up in cupboards?
Or resin in phials such as I had stolen from Mrs. Mompellion? I determined to go straight there and see what I might be able to secure for myself. ” When Anna’s father takes up the job of grave digging for those who were unable, he becomes greedy, and charges them unreasonably high prices, and then helps himself to valuables in the household. Anna despises her father for doing this and says to him, “You know that bale is a thieving price to charge Mrs. Martin for the hour’s toil fog burying her husband. How can you chouse the suffering so?
You bring disgrace upon us by such conduct. ” This creates an internal conflict for Anna and her neighbours, because she is completely against her father’s actions, but he is her father. The community also must try hard not to judge Anna for the things her father does. The way the characters react and respond to conflict in Year of Wonders can be compared and considered the same as how people would react in this day and age. The author, Geraldine Brooks successfully describes and displays the character’s emotions and feelings towards their events of “Encountering Conflict. ”