Study Guide

Year of Wonders Religion

By Geraldine Brooks

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How do you stay faithful in a hopeless situation? That's the quandary faced by Anna Frith in Year of Wonders. Her hometown of Eyam has been struck by the plague, but instead of running away like most would do in this situation, the villagers are convinced to stay put by a charismatic preacher named Michael Mompellion. As the plague takes hold, however, the villagers pull a Michael Stipe and lose their religion. Some turn to occult rituals. Others spurn faith altogether. Throughout all of this, Year of Wonders explores how devout people respond to horrendous circumstances.

Questions About Religion

  1. How does Mompellion's practice of Puritanism differ from typical depictions of that faith?
  2. Why do people turn to so-called pagan beliefs in this novel? Do they truly believe in them?
  3. What causes Mompellion to lose his faith?
  4. What is Anna's relationship with religion at the end of the novel? In what way does it change over time?

Chew on This

The death of Elinor is such a personal tragedy for Mompellion that his faith in God is unable to survive it.

Although Anna does not abandon her religion by the end of the novel, she definitely is less blindly accepting of its tenets.

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