Brooks Explores How Ignorance, Superstition and Hysteria Can Be as Fatal as Any Plague.’ Discuss.

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Geraldine Brooks explores how ignorance, superstition and hysteria can be as fatal as any plague within her novel ‘Year of Wonders’. During the trying year of the plague superstition, ignorance, and hysteria took over the village, causing people to make irrational accusations, decisions and behave immorally, turning against each other. Brooks explores how the plague acts as a catalyst effecting each of the villagers differently on a physical and emotional level. The plague is defined as a large amount of insects or animals infesting a place causing damage, within the novel we see the villagers become these animals. Fear and anguish brought out some of the worst qualities in the villagers causing them to turn against one another creating anger, conflict and damage unto one another. In turn these actions fueled by superstition, hysteria and ignorance could become just as fatal as the plague itself. The bubonic plague attacks many individuals in the village as it delivers continuous grief and loss to the whole town. Brooks structures her novel as a non-linear timeline as it jumps backwards and forwards starting after the events of the plague giving hints of what has caused the change in the community. Undoubtedly, the plague causes the disintegration of families in the town. By structuring her novel as a retrospective narrative that is our protagonist, Anna Frith describes of what had happened in the book, enables the audience to adopt the sense of doom and horrors occurred during the time of the catastrophe. We are exposed to pain and grief that Anna feels when she lost her children whom she ‘loved from the moment she first reached down and touched the crowd’ of her children because of the plague, which results in her ‘(fighting) the sexton when he came to take Jamie’s body away’. Brooks clearly demonstrates and explores that the crisis such this plague can destroy

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