Year of Wonders

by

Geraldine Brooks

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Colonel Bradford Character Analysis

Colonel Bradford is the head of Eyam’s local family of gentry. Prideful and arrogant, he scorns the common people for whom he is supposed to take care. When the plague strikes, he immediately flees with his whole family, ignoring Mompellion’s pleas to embrace altruism and a sense of social duty.

Colonel Bradford Quotes in Year of Wonders

The Year of Wonders quotes below are all either spoken by Colonel Bradford or refer to Colonel Bradford. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Community and Convention Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Year of Wonders published in 2002.
Part 3: Apple-Picking Time Quotes

Why, I wondered, had the surgeon abandoned this case as hopeless? Had he persevered here he could easily have done what I was about to attempt. It came to me then that he must have arrived under instruction to be negligent.

Related Characters: Anna Frith (speaker), Colonel Bradford, Anne Bradford
Related Symbols: Childbirth
Page Number: 285
Explanation and Analysis:
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Year of Wonders PDF

Colonel Bradford Character Timeline in Year of Wonders

The timeline below shows where the character Colonel Bradford appears in Year of Wonders. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Apple-Picking Time
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Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
...actually have a tumor, implying that she has become pregnant out of wedlock and that Colonel Bradford has disowned her as a “whore.” (full context)
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Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Anna is concerned by the sudden turn in the Bradfords’ circumstances, but even more so by Mompellion’s blasphemous speech to Elizabeth, which she sees as... (full context)
Part 2: The Thunder of His Voice
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Anna continues reluctantly to Bradford Hall. She dislikes and fears the Bradford family. Colonel Bradford orders everyone around mercilessly and seems to especially enjoy tormenting his wife, who is “cowed... (full context)
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Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
...“scourge” from God and remain to fight it where it appears. The young man and Colonel Bradford smirk at what they see as unnecessary selflessness, but Mompellion sticks to his convictions. When... (full context)
Part 2: Wide Green Prison
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Leaving the church and feeling good about the town’s decision, Anna encounters Maggie Cantwell, the Bradfords’ cook. The Bradfords have summarily fired her and ordered her to leave the house, meaning... (full context)
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Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
Mompellion arrives on his horse and excoriates Colonel Bradford for his cowardice. However, Colonel Bradford is totally impervious to Mompellion’s rhetoric of selflessness and... (full context)
Part 2: A Great Burning
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Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
...villagers are poor and own so few things. She contrasts their sparse possessions with the Bradfords’ luxury and excess, and reflects that the Bradfords might be too scared to come back,... (full context)
Part 3: Apple-Picking Time
Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
...examines her and finds it’s a simple breach birth, easy to fix. She concludes that Colonel Bradford instructed the surgeon to let his wife die. (full context)
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...is illegitimate and she has to kill it so that Mrs. Bradford can retain the Colonel’s good graces. She says that she is only committing this crime out of love for... (full context)