Year of Wonders

Crisis Becoming Positive in Year of Wonders 12th Grade

Crisis inevitably comes with anguish and grief, but it is possible for positive outcomes to stem from such events. The plague year in Geraldine Brooks’ “Year Of Wonders” is a primary example of this phenomenon, as we see devastation unfold that is laced with the brightness of exceptional characters. Despite the deaths of almost a third of the villagers and the near crippling grief experienced by those remaining, the positive transformations and extraordinary strength and positivity seen in certain characters, as well as the new lives that began, offer an optimistic view of humankind.

One of the novel’s key messages is that humankind has an exceptional ability to transform in a positive way. This is primarily shown through Anna’s transformation, as we see her meek exterior dissolve to reveal a vibrant, tenacious woman. She must deal with the restrictive confines of a rigid class system, but with the assistance of the ever understanding Elinor and her growing self-belief she becomes Elinor’s “friend” as opposed to her maid and her “fear” of the Bradford’s turns to pure distaste. This is seen at the novel’s end, where Elizabeth “pushed past” Anna twice throughout their interaction, a gesture that indicates her sheer dismissal of...

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