Anna Frith who is a mother, widow and servant at the time that the disastrous plague reaches her village, Eyam, narrates the story. Anna loses her whole family to the plague disease, after she has already been through the passing of her dear husband, Sam, in a horrible mining accident. Although there are moments when Anna feels that there is nothing left to live for in her life, she finds an inner strength and resilience that not only propels her through the tragedy, but allows her to grow in stature as a result.
Anna comes from a croft that had ever been ‘a joyless place’ and as is typical of women of that period and class, she was not educated in a formal setting. Anna, ...view middle of the document...
Michael Mompellion is the main reason why the village of Eyam becomes abandoned and isolated at the time of the plague. Even when under the pressure from the situation, Mompellion is a commanding leader. Anna states how he ‘naturally he took charge’ once the first victims of the plague began to pass away. He speaks with authority and his voice is ‘so compelling that you focussed all your thoughts upon the words and not upon the man who uttered them’ as well as making practical decisions such as delivering his sermons in the Delf, instead of indoors.
He is also able to set an example to the villagers through his actions. This is not only shown when he and his wife remain within the ‘boundary stone’ of the village without any thought for their own safety, but also when he realises that ‘all worldly goods’ must be burned as another precaution against the spread of the plague. He is the first to place his own belongings on the burning pile so that the villagers will follow suit. As the dire consequences of his decision become more apparent, Mompellion takes it upon himself to attend to every dying member of the community. He spends hours with the suffering ‘fighting first for the body and then, when that cause was clearly lost, for his soul.’ He holds firm to his belief that ‘no one in this village will face their death alone.’
The plague that’s ripping apart the village takes its toll on...