Year Of Wonders

424 Words2 Pages
‘Year of Wonders’ by Geraldine Brooks which is a historical fiction and circular structure form of text, explores the horrific ways the villagers in Eyam respond to a crisis by revealing the darker side of human nature. As the plague outbreaks, the villagers are faced with immense challenges and as a result some of the villagers are seen as selfish and uncharitable. “These times do make monsters of us all”. However Brooks also wants us to recognize that some are forced to show courage and compassion. Brooks contrasts a strong feminist theme and positions us to see their heroic gestures to the weaknesses of men as the villagers are faced with great tragedies. Joss Bont is one of the villains of the plague year. Brooks positions us to see that Joss views the tragedy merely as an opportunity, and his extreme greed and insensitivity know no bounds. His exploitation of the dying and their families makes us see that Anna is glad she no longer shares a last name with him. When Bont adds attempted murder to his other crimes, the demoralized village finally calls him to account. Bont’s sentence and death highlight the grievous punishments given out. Bont cares nothing for his children and they live in fear of him, just as Anna did as a child. Anna also remembers the ‘scold’s bridle’-an iron cage that was fastened over the head of a woman who offended her husband- and the way in which her mother was lead around in it by Bont ‘yanking hard on the chain so that the iron sliced her tongue’. Although Bont has virtually no redeeming qualities, Brooks nevertheless elicits some sympathy for him when the shocking events of his boyhood are revealed. As a boy, Bont had been repeatedly raped, whipped and “given rum to deaden the pain”. All of these abuses have contributed to the man Bont becomes: Anna, and the reader, are at least able to understand what lies behind his corruption
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