The Black Death In Geraldine Brook's 'Year Of Wonder'

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My dear friends, soon God will set us a new test,’ warns the priest. How do the hardships of the plague bring out the best and the worst in the villagers of Eyam? Geraldine Brook’s novel ‘Year of Wonders’ vividly recounts the story of the seventeenth century plague which cripples and transforms the English town of Eyam. The Black Death which strikes the village not only reveals the stark contrast between the admirable and evil nature of the towns people, but it also redefines the villagers of Eyam. The personal beliefs and social order which were once static, collapse in the face of God’s ‘test.’ When faced with adversity and desperation, certain individuals embrace the challenge and their heroism shines through, whilst others instead choose to turn their backs on the town, acting in selfish and crude ways. Throughout the ‘Year of Wonders,’ Brooks explores the ways in which society responds to extreme hardship, and the ripple effect which peoples choices have on others within the community. The plague seeds which settle upon the soil of Eyam bring about profound change within the village,…show more content…
For some, inner strength is found and heroes emerge, leading the town through its time of darkness, whilst others stoop down to the lowest form of human behaviour in order to cope with their hardship. This is a notion mimicked in society today. Under the pressures of our lives, our thoughts can become corrupted and our actions callous. By emphasising the change of society’s values as a result of the plague, Brooks was seeking to encourage readers to realise that while certain situations in life are beyond our personal control, we should attempt to not only accept but embrace these dilemmas, so that our human existence can benefit in light of
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