Year of Wonders

The Effect of Disintegrating Faith in Year of Wonders 12th Grade

When faith is diminished in a community where it was once crucial, it is logical for the citizens' reactions to be varied and occasionally destructive. In Geraldine Brooks’ historical novel “Year of Wonders,” villagers display myriad responses as they question the very foundations on which their lives were built. While some, including the exceptionally brave Anna Frith, flourish as a result, others become crippled by the devastation of losing their primary source of comfort and certainty.

When Anna’s faith disintegrates her mind is opened up to a range of concepts long suppressed by her religion, resulting in her blossoming into a well-rounded individual full of compassion, hope and a burning desire to help others. It is a long and fruitful journey that leads to Anna seeing the plague as a “thing in nature merely”, as she turns to science to assist her in clearing the confusion and pain that at times cloud her vision. From this moment on Anna buries herself in books and strains her mind to think of potential remedies, urged on by Elinor who, when they are together in Anys’ home, predicts that “the key to defeating this Plague…must lie here, in the virtue of these plants”. As a consequence the two women bring relief to many...

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