Study Guide

Year of Wonders Chapter 11

By Geraldine Brooks

Chapter 11

The Body of the Mine

  • After some much-needed recovery time, Anna emerges from her house and finds her father walking around with a large sack. He claims he got it from Widow Brown for burying her husband and son.
  • Anna learns that her father has been charging people outrageous prices to bury their kin. The whole town is aghast by his greed, but with Mompellion exhausted, they have few alternatives.
  • Anna's dad stops showing up at church, but Mr. Mompellion eventually confronts him. Bont just mocks him and accuses him of elitism.
  • One day, a villager named Christopher Urwin calls for Mr. Mompellion because he is close to death. It is revealed that he is in fact mostly recovered from the plague, but he assumed that he was dying after hearing Bont digging a grave outside his window.
  • Mompellion confronts Bont once again. They get into a fight, and to our surprise, Mompellion knocks Bont out.
  • Word around town that night is that Bont is drunk and furious. An awful combination, if we've ever heard one.
  • The next morning, Anna sees a figure approaching in the distance with blood and dirt coating his body. It's Christopher Urwin, and he's claiming that Bont tried to bury him alive.
  • Bont is brought before a local court. He looks hurt when Anna refuses to come to his defense.
  • In the end, Bont's punishment is to be confined to Urwin's mine "by a knife through the hands" (2.11.71). That's...intense.
  • It's not as bad as it sounds, though. The man is left unguarded, and his family is expected to rescue him immediately afterward.
  • Anna expects Aphra to take care of this, but Aphra is so busy with her now plague-ridden kids that she doesn't go, either.
  • In other words, Bont dies out there. When Anna and Aphra visit the body together, Anna hears Aphra chanting "in a low, deep-throated murmur" (2.11.87) over the corpse.