Study Guide

Year of Wonders Mortality

By Geraldine Brooks

Mortality

Obvious alert: if a book is about the Black Plague, then you better believe that it's also about mortality. Shocker, we know. As documented in Year of Wonders, the tiny English village of Eyam made a surprising decision in 1666 when they opted to stay put when the plague hit rather than run away from it like pretty much everyone else. Though noble, this choice has dire consequences. As our characters experience an overabundance of death—some of it caused by the plague, and some of it caused by each other—they're forced to redefine their relationships with life itself.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Does Mompellion deal with death well? Explain your answer.
  2. Are the villagers who killed Anys murderers? Why or why not?
  3. How does the widespread death affect Eyam as a community?
  4. Why does Aphra kill Elinor? Does she have a logical reason?

Chew on This

The deaths caused by the plague don't just affect the individuals struck by it—they also alter Eyam's vision of itself.

Although Mompellion talks a big game, he completely breaks down when Elinor dies, showing that he can't handle death.