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January 29, 2022, 05:54:17 am

Author Topic: Year of Wonders - feedback pls...  (Read 2237 times)  Share 

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Year of Wonders - feedback pls...
« on: July 27, 2012, 04:11:10 pm »
feedback and annotations pls, tnx....

“I wonder if you know how much you have changed. It is the one good perhaps to come out of this terrible year.” Discuss how and why Anna has changed.

Geraldine Brook’s Year of Wonders was narrated by Anna Frith, who morphed from a timid widowed individual into a bold independent woman who persevered in the face of extremely challenging circumstances. Her defiance and determination characterized her uniqueness amongst any women in that era. Her life dramatically changes when the plague strikes the village of Eyam. She took on many setbacks and obstacles throughout the book including the death of her husband, her children and even the plague itself. ○1 While many villagers were overwhelmed by the presence of the plague, Anna viewed it as a privilege to increase her knowledge and emerge as a more educated and independent women across Eyam. ○2 We also see the change in Anna as she gradually and constantly doubt her beliefs as she witness kind and innocent people die in front of her. This led her to make a conclusion that it is ‘neither an act of God nor the Devil, but simply a thing of nature’. ○3 The presence of the plague has also made Anna more durable and risk-taking in times of need to prevail over her fears and grief. Although Anna showed signs of vulnerability throughout the novel, she was able to constantly conquer the fear of the unknown and the turn the plague year into a ‘year of wonders’.

While many villagers turned to superstition as a respond to the plague, Anna was able to overcome severe adversities that the plague had unleashed and emerges as a stronger and enriched individual. It allowed Anna to envision a more vivid purpose and direction towards the future. Despite of her lost, she was still ‘[hungry] to learn’.  She did not let the fear of the unknown overwhelmed her, but viewed It as a opportunity that acts as a new beginning. With the help of Elinor, she was able to learn how to read and felt the ‘warmth of a motherly concern’. Together, they turned to science and nature, by attempting to learn what they can from Gowdie’s herb knowledge in order to fight ‘the unknown’.  What makes Anna the only women who is both genuinely independent and resilient is that  she conquered her fear and out of the plague she transforms from a naïve teenager to find direction and purpose, “I knew then that this was how I was meant to go on: away from death and towards life…living my life amongst wonders.” Brooks again further highlights her independent nature and is more than a ‘men’s chattel’ by moving away from the comforts of Eyam to a new fulfilling life of independence and empowerment in Oran. While the majority had fear from the unknown, she was able to find the inner peace that made her take something valuable away from this experience – her growing independence and resiliency despite all odds.

Although Anna was able to project a more independent figure after the plague subsides, her faith in God has constantly wavering while her understanding for natural world grows. Initially, it was the strong faith in God that had binds the villagers together. Prior to the plague’s arrival, Anna has been worshiping the Christian God and attending regular Sunday services in the village Church. As the plague struck the village, Anna’s lost for her love ones and many neighbors in the village has left her doubting her faith in God. She struggles to comprehend why God inflicts such pain and sorrow simply to ‘trial’ the village of Eyam. Following the deaths of both Mem and Anys Gowdie, Anna and Elinor take on their roles of midwife of the village. While her faith in God is fading, her understanding of herbs and plants is increasing as she provides remedies to the infected villagers. It is this relationship with the natural world, likened to Elinor’s devotion to her “garden of Eden”, which sees Anna realise that it is in fact nature governing their lives, “perhaps the plague was neither an act of God nor the Devil, but simply a thing of nature, as the stone on which we stub a toe.”

Anna was able to conquer her fears and overcome the many obstacles that was prevented her path to be enriched and well-respected individual. Brooks highlight her fear as she was hesistant to use her ‘mother hands’ to assist with the Birth of Mary Daniel’s baby. “You do not know what you are asking me! Poor Mary Daniel deserves better”. But as the infant was successfully delivered, Brooks has made a vivid juxtaposition between the omnipresence of life and Anna rising to the challenges that life has thrown at her. Her growing resiliency and determination to overcome the challenges was again redefined when she went down to the mine with Elinor in an effort to help an orphan retain her family’s possession from the likes of David Burton. Despite of the knowledge that Sam Frith died in a mining accident, her fear and hatred of the mining profession, she brush all these thoughts aside and went down the pit with courage and determination. She also resorts to the very same technique of how Sam was killed, ‘fire setting’, in order to help Merry claim back her family’s fortune. While it is no secret to the readers that Anna does have moments where her guard is down and her vulnerability is exposed, Brooks underlines the bigger picture that the plague has taught Anna to be more resilient and strong to overcome the obstacles that lies ahead.

Through the presence of the plague, Anna vividly stands out of the society as she took on the plague uniquely and was empowered to achieve the independence and great amount of knowledge that she has never obtained before. Throughout the plague year, her faith was constantly challenged and faded as the villagers prayers were left unanswered. Although this is so, she resort to herbs and plants and made a conclusion that, “perhaps the plague was neither an act of God nor the Devil, but simply a thing of nature, as the stone on which we stub a toe.”  Finally, the plague year has made Anna more resilient than ever, reminding the readers to rise up to the challenge that is presented before us rather than being corrupted by our fears. She emerges from the grief stricken plague year with purpose, a wealth of knowledge and a memorable life experience that will steer her through her upcoming journeys.


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Re: Year of Wonders - feedback pls...
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2012, 10:00:14 pm »
Right off the bat, i don't really like the word morphed. I think a better word could be developed, evolved, matured ect...

Also, i dont think that Anna viewed the plague as a "privilege". this seems to be more how Mompellion felt. Perhaps, Despite the plagues destructive nature, Anna was able to emerge enriched with knowledge and independence.

I dont think that anna "concluded" that the plague was just a think of nature, remember that she did pray for Gods guidance after Mompellion shtooped her. Perhaps you could say; "This prompted her to consider that..." instead of "this led her to make a conclusion"

"Despite of her lost" i think you mean "Despite lossing her children"

You use "turned to" twice in the first paragraph, maybe chance the second one to "explored"

"despite all odds" is a bit of a cliche

"project a more independent figure" not sure what you mean there...

3rd paragraph you are mixing tenses alot, needs revising.

"Brooks has made a vivid juxtaposition between the omnipresence of life and Anna rising to the challenges that life has thrown at her" Great line, but i think that you mean "and the challenges that life has thrown at her." Because the life is not juxtaposed to anna's prevalence over adversity, but rather is juxtaposed to the adversity itself, hence she is highlighting the preciousness of life by juxtaposing it with destruction.

"she brush all these thoughts aside and went down the pit" is a bit too casual. Perhaps "she 'kept her fears banked' and confronted the apprehension she had built up regarding the mine."

"guard is down" and "bigger picture" two cliches used in the same sentence. Perhaps you could eliminate "guard is down" and chance "bigger picture" to "the essence of the novel"

"plague year" in the last paragraph could be changed to "Annus Morabolis" (Latin for year of wonders).


Quoting was well integrated but there just wasn't enough of it, i would stick to a 4-5+ quotes per paragraph minimum as a rule of thumb.

Ideas and depth were well looked into, but honestly nothing special, nothing unique. You turn of phrase is quite good, but that is probably not enough to score you an A-A+. Try finding something unique about the book, a certain character or certain act or relationship that stands you out from the crowd. For example, go into depth about the relationship between Anna and her father and use that to explain how Anna Develops.

Also try to include some of the symbols in the novel, such as the symbol of anteros riding off into the sunset, the SYMBOL of annas migration away from the green decay of england to the radiant and exotic Oran. These things will keep you in good stead to writing a top quality essay.

Overall very good work (i mainly focused on the negatives, because if i told you everything that was good about the piece then it wouldnt have been very helpful, but i also tried to offer solutions)

Class of 2012 | ATAR: 99.40 | 2011: Methods [42] 2012: English [49] Accounting [47] Biology [43] Further [46] Chemistry [39]