Year of Wonders

by

Geraldine Brooks

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Elizabeth Bradford Character Analysis

Elizabeth is the daughter of the Colonel and Anne Bradford, the local gentry who haughtily preside over life in Eyam. Elizabeth is pretentious and unpleasant towards everyone of lower social standing, but she’s somewhat redeemed by her gentleness toward her timid mother, and her efforts to protect her from her father’s abuse. When Anna works as a maid in the Bradford house, Elizabeth takes pleasure in bossing her around, but ultimately it’s Elizabeth who has to beg for Anna’s help in delivering her mother’s illegitimate baby, demonstrating how much class dynamics have shifted as a result of the plague.

Elizabeth Bradford Quotes in Year of Wonders

The Year of Wonders quotes below are all either spoken by Elizabeth Bradford or refer to Elizabeth 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

As hard as I willed it, I could not draw up anything to follow: no formal supplication, no Bible verse, no scrap of liturgy. All of the texts and Psalms and orisons I had by rote were gone from me, erased, as surely as hard-learned words written with painful effort onto a slate can be licked away with the lazy swipe of a dampened rag.

Related Characters: Anna Frith (speaker), Elizabeth Bradford , Aisha
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Year of Wonders LitChart as a printable PDF.
Year of Wonders PDF

Elizabeth Bradford Character Timeline in Year of Wonders

The timeline below shows where the character Elizabeth Bradford appears in Year of Wonders. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Apple-Picking Time
Community and Convention Theme Icon
At the rectory Anna finds Elizabeth Bradford, the daughter of a local family of landed gentry. Elizabeth demands to see Mompellion,... (full context)
Community and Convention Theme Icon
Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
Elizabeth pushes past Anna and ambushes Mompellion on the rectory stairwell, demanding that he come to... (full context)
Community and Convention Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
In the kitchen, Elizabeth breaks down in weeping so pathetically that Anna can’t help consoling her. Elizabeth confesses that... (full context)
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Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
...sudden turn in the Bradfords’ circumstances, but even more so by Mompellion’s blasphemous speech to Elizabeth, which she sees as evidence of mental instability. She returns to his room, picks up... (full context)
Part 2: The Thunder of His Voice
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...wife, who is “cowed and nervous” from his constant abuse and always mistreats the servants. Elizabeth Bradford is “proud and sour,” only slightly redeemed by her genuine concern for her mother,... (full context)
Part 2: Wide Green Prison
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Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
...have an obligation to aid the common people of the village, saying he doesn’t want Elizabeth to “play wet nurse to a rabble.” The Colonel says that the villagers have only... (full context)
Part 3: Apple-Picking Time
Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
...“discomposed” now, since he wouldn’t dare ask the blessing of God for his treatment of Elizabeth or his insult to the Bible. (full context)
Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
In the Bradford pew, she finds Elizabeth praying. Elizabeth says that Mrs. Bradford has been in premature labor for a day, and... (full context)
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Justice and Judgment Theme Icon
...Bradford’s blood. However, when she turns back to the kitchen for a cloak, she finds Elizabeth about to drown the baby in a bucket. Anna knocks her out of the way,... (full context)
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Elizabeth tries to justify herself, saying that the baby is illegitimate and she has to kill... (full context)
Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
Anna volunteers to adopt the baby. When Elizabeth is reluctant, she says she will move far away from Eyam, where the child can... (full context)
Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
...had been allowed.” In return, Anna says that the little girl will always be cherished. Elizabeth gives Anna money to provide for her on the journey away from Eyam, and she... (full context)
Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
...the Bradfords, because she knows both of the existence of an illegitimate child and of Elizabeth’s attempted murder. He advises that Anna take Anteros and head to Elinor’s family estate, where... (full context)