Study Guide

Year of Wonders Society and Class

By Geraldine Brooks

Society and Class

If you like stories about how zombie pandemics change society, then you're going to love Year of Wonders. Though it features no undead creatures (sorry for getting your hopes up), the novel does follow the English village of Eyam as it gets torn apart by the Black Plague. We see the selfishness of aristocrats. We see how the lower classes bear the brunt of the brutal disease. We see how social decorum gets thrown out the window in extraordinary circumstances. It might not feature brain eating, but Year of Wonders has more in common with a zombie story than you might think.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. How does the social order in Eyam change after the plague hits?
  2. Why do the Bradfords return? Should Mompellion have helped them out?
  3. How do gender and class intersect in the novel?
  4. What does the Bradfords' decision regarding the Sunday Oath say about classism?

Chew on This

The Bradfords' decision to forgo the Sunday Oath shows that the upper classes exploit their power over the lower classes.

Gender and class are highly related, as proven by the fact that Anys is placed into a separate class of society because of her unconventional views on gender.