Year of Wonders

by

Geraldine Brooks

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John and Urith Gordon Character Analysis

The Gordons are a farming couple who live on the outskirts of Eyam. Believing that the plague is a punishment from an angry God who must be appeased by acts of penance, the Gordons begin flagellating themselves, an extreme form of self-castigation. Although Anna and Mompellion act quickly to stop this extremism from infecting the entire town, the Gordons’ behavior highlights the thin line between Christian orthodoxy and self-destructive superstition.
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John and Urith Gordon Character Timeline in Year of Wonders

The timeline below shows where the character John and Urith Gordon appears in Year of Wonders. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2: The Press of Their Ghosts
Community and Convention Theme Icon
Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
John and Urith Gordon stop coming to services at Cucklett Delf, and Anna notices that Urith... (full context)
Female Sexuality and Friendship Theme Icon
Mompellion and Anna set out to confront the Gordons. On their way they come across an inebriated couple having sex in the road, and... (full context)
Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
Arriving at the Gordon cottage Anna and Mompellion find every wall covered in crosses and Urith starving under the fast John imposes. Urith says her husband has learned about flagellating in... (full context)
Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
The next Sunday, Mompellion preaches about John, saying that he “sought to please God even as he embraced conduct unpleasing to God.”... (full context)
Part 2: A Great Burning
Community and Convention Theme Icon
Faith, Suffering, and God’s Will Theme Icon
Science and Superstition Theme Icon
...sacrifice to God and to dispose of potentially contaminated items. He reminds the villagers that Urith Gordon died because of sharing disease-bearing clothing, and that fire has been “a symbol of... (full context)