Study Guide

Year of Wonders Chapter 12

By Geraldine Brooks

Chapter 12

The Press of Their Ghosts

  • Although Anna has always had conflicted feelings about her father, she cries when he dies.
  • Anna and Elinor discuss how the villagers are trying to use magic to beat the plague. Mompellion informs them that the members of one family, the Mowbrays, are doing crazy things to their kid right now. Anna leaves to check it out.
  • Anna finds the Mowbrays holding their baby over a "pot of piss" (2.12). Really. They had previously rolled the kid around in bushes, leaving it with scratches all over the its body.
  • Mrs. Mowbray claimed that she paid a witch to teach her this magic. Yikes. Anna does her best to make the baby comfortable before leaving.
  • It's now June, and the village has hit an auspicious milestone: there are now more people dead than alive. Ugh.
  • At this point, everyone is either crazy, depressed, drunk, or all three. One dude, John Gordon, has taken to walking around town lashing himself. It's fun stuff.
  • Anna tells Mompellion about this, and the pair head out to approach the situation head on. On the way over, they catch two villagers getting jiggy in the bushes. Mompellion flips.
  • Anna and Mompellion talk with Urith Gordon about her husband's insanity. They also give her some food, as John has been forcing her to fast constantly.
  • A week later, Anna and Mompellion find John Gordon's body at the bottom of a cliff. Urith dies the following week.