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Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

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    Mompellion is a man who follows his God unselfishly and courageously’ Discuss Geraldine Brooks portrays Mompellion as a complicated and imperfect man who unfavorably leads Eyam through his concept of God’s ways. The “casket of gold” which God had sent to Eyam was used to “refine” the population was Mompellion’s view of the plague as shown in ‘Year Of Wonders’. Mompellion’s deep and complex nature shown towards women, and also the incompetency of the citizens in Eyam is reflected in his actions through the year of 1666. Brooks shows Mompellion’s nature to be both courageous but also flawed.

    Mompellion’s courageous and unselfish caliber was shown through the decisions he made regarding the towns fate. The “strength of his will” persisted him to decide the possible fate of Eyam, for being the self-announced leader he made the decisions, which were needed. Mompellion believed that “God Himself had placed the truth of it into [his] heart”, so only ‘he’ knew what was needed. But Brooks showed Mompellion’s actions, of closing the churchyard and having church in the open air, burning everything to be rid of plague seeds and also to confine the plague within Eyam to be the reason why the Eyam plague was the last record of the disease.

    Although all these harsh, but needed decisions did come at a toll, for after the plague had passed Mompellion was demoted and repulsed by the town for what he did. Mompellion’s reasoning for hope through the plague called for a “better season coming”, that “God would have [Eyam] shine” whilst battling the influenza. The appeal for nobleness in the town and for ‘heroism’ sparked a great communal bond through Eyam. Mompellion’s uniting of the community and promise that “no one will die alone” initiated a newfound courage through the township.

    Brooks shows Mompellion’s actions through 1666 to be inspirational and courageous, but they came at a toll. The unpublicized nature of Mompellion’s thoughts towards others, especially women were shown by Brooks to be flawed and complex. Anna’s narrative point of view let us see her ‘saint like’ view of Mompellion till near the end of the plague, but Brooks showed us the true side of Mompellion during Apple Picking Time. Mompellion’s treatment of Elinor was revealed after Anna had lay with him, Mompellion “punished her, body and mind, until her soul was

    cleansed” of the impurities that her lusts had led her to during her teenage years. His view was that Elinor “had needs of expiation” due to her sins as a young adult. Brooks showed Mompellion to see much difference between the wrong doings of a man compared to a woman. For instance when Jane Martin and Albion Samweys were caught fornicating in the nearby bushes at night, Mompellion sent Samweys home with a ‘slap on the wrist’ whilst his “animal nature” towards Jane Martin was exposed.

    Brooks revealed Mompellion’s true idea of women as the “dregs of the Devils Dunghill”, which in turn exposed his true relationship with Elinor. Mompellion was portrayed by Brooks to have a flawed understanding of women’s value in society as shown through his thoughts towards them, and also the actions of women such as Anna through the Year of Wonders. The hypocrisy uncovered by Brooks in Mompellion’s actions were shown through his disapproval of flagellants in Eyam.

    Mompellion saw the flagellant of John Gordan and believed that “dangerous ideas may spread”, but wasn’t this the same sort of ‘infiltration’ of ideas that he himself offered to Eyam? Brooks showed Mompellion’s ideas and revelations to save the town to be “dangerous” and “shockingly wrong”, which were paralleled by the infiltration of flagellancy in Eyam. Mompellion’s reaction to the new idea gave him a sense of hypocrisy in that his ideas and actions were no different to the revelations that the “lettered man” John Gordan brought to the town.

    Brooks showed Mompellion’s actions to be selfish and hypocritical. Geraldine Brooks presented the idea that leadership offered in Christianity came with both positive and negative outcomes. The courageous and unselfish decisions which came from Mompellion spared the town from many more possible deaths, but also the view that Mompellion had towards ‘his’ idea of God and women was the toll the town paid in their respite from the plague. Brooks signified that without powerful leadership which unites communities, humanity will prevail in a time of crisis.

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    Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. (2016, Aug 30). Retrieved from

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