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How Does The Narrator Of Year Of Wonders Effect The Reading Of The Novel

1339 words - 6 pages

In “Year of Wonders”, Geraldine Brooks’ novel of devastation set in the village of Eyam in 1966, the narrator, Anna Frith, has a large impact on the reading of the historically fictitious novel. The tone which the narrator takes is both harsh and honest. The fact that the reader is exposed to a female’s outlook throughout this time of peril in Eyam allows for an unfair biased. Finally, Firth’s position in society also creates a distorted reading of the text.

Anna Firth’s acrid and candid tone and use of language throughout the narrative has an ample influence on the reader’s apprehension to Brooks’ novel. Anna’s tone and gruesome attention to detail as “George Viccars lay with his head ...view middle of the document...

As the protagonist describes the villagers as “wounded animals, our hurts so raw and our fear so great.” It is seen that the language Anna uses is very descriptive and dreary no matter the occasion her use of terms such as “voluntary besiegement” and a “gibbering, broken thing” when describing events allows for true feeling to sink into the readers mind; Brooks uses Anna’s words to draw very fine detail to the effects of the plague, and, in doing so, causes the reader to feel sympathy towards the inhabitants of Eyam. Although Anna’s language is twisted by Brooks to draw feeling towards the characters, not all of these feelings are of equal stature towards the separate genders of the village.

Brooks’ use of Anna as the narrator in the novel creates an unfair biased towards females in the text. Throughout the novel it is evident that the “Year of Wonders” is also a tale of the need and power of women in times of uncertainty. 17th century Eyam was a time of gender inequality where men possessed all the power in the village and women were almost seen as the glue that held family life together and kept the household in tact, however, in the novel, the women are bought out of their shells and become the main source of courage during Eyam’s most catastrophic time. Brooks’ use of Anna as the protagonist and a heroine in the novel proves this. As Anna grows and comes out of the woodwork as a strong woman it is noted by others in the town and the derogatory view of women at the time is highlighted as men think that Anna likes to “come and go without a man’s say-so”. Men in Brooks’ novel are painted as two-dimensional characters with no real focus played on any of their grief or pain at the time of the plague; Brooks focuses on their negative actions, as seen with Josiah Bont and Michael Mompellion’s treatment of Elinor. Although most males in the text are seen as poor human beings George Viccars is viewed as “different from all those men who look you over like beef at a saleyard”, as Anna describes Viccars in this light, the reader believes he is a genuinely good man, one of very few in this story of powerful women. In the novel we see Anna face her fears as she goes into the mine where her husband faced his death, it is evident from this that women in the text show the most growth as Mompellion states “I wonder if you know how much you have changed”. The reader sees women go from strength to strength and admire those in the town such as Anys Gowdie as “she was a rare creature and I had to own that I admired her for listening to her own heart rather than having her life ruled by others’ conventions”. The women...

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