The composing task, Geraldine Brooks’ “Year of Wonders” and Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go! have all enhanced my understanding of the concept of journey by showing the different ways a journey can happen. The composing task’s protagonist’s physical journey is an outward representation of the spiritual journey she undertakes, “Year of Wonder” focused on the emotional and moral development, therefore making it a spiritual based journey, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! shows how a person is able to be in control of their own physical and emotional journey.
The composing task’s protagonist’s physical journey is an outward representation of the spiritual journey she undertakes. This is shown by using the changing of the scenery as a metaphor for changes in her life, through age and development as a person with her inner feeling towards her family and her siblings becoming a larger part in her own journey. ‘Taking the first step off the bus I look up and don’t see my mother, I’m only five… three blocks I have to walk…’ She starts her journey as a five year old just trying to get home. As I passed the first block, everything has changed… I’m now nine years old with my little brother next to me. ’
She has gotten older and her siblings have started to become a bigger aspect and influence in her life. ‘We make it past the second block and things are different, yet again. I’m 13 and he’s 11… Houses in the neighbourhood have changed into trees and other plants, looming over us. Thorns are everywhere we touch. ’ Again they are older and the scenery has changed explaining that things have changed in their lives, ‘He doesn’t hold my hand anymore, and all my smiles are forced. ‘As we come past the third block, a small hand appears in mine. My baby sister is now 5, my younger brother now 14, and me, I’m 16,’ the scenery and their ages have changed again.
With these physical changes it also changes the emotions in the characters. The protagonist doesn’t need to force her smiles towards her little sister because she can see and understand how simple her life is and that ‘she has no worries, no regrets. They make it to the end of the block and the protagonist takes both of her siblings and takes them off the street they had been walking and into the world with her as their protection. She is able to do this with no qualms knowing that they won’t have to go through the same ordeal that she did and she will always be there for them. Through this physical representation of a spiritual journey it shows how a journey can develop through a metaphysical state and not be based on finding a specific destination but instead a safe place.
Year of Wonders” focuses on the emotional and moral development, therefore making it a spiritual based journey. This is known to the reader as the main charter, Anna Firth, has no need to continuously travel to perform her journey. Anna is living in a town stricken with the bubonic plague, as they have isolated themselves to prevent the spread, they are unable to call upon others to assist in the treatment of the ill and must use others abilities to ensure the towns survival of the plague.
As lives start to be taken by the plague, many of the townspeople believe it is to do with witchcraft. Two characters, Aunty and niece, Mem and Anys Gowdie, have always been able to help the town with herbal remedies and have been the local midwives, but after their deaths Anna is convinced by Elinor Mompellion to assist a women in labour and she soon starts to help the sick and dying and the orphaned children. Anna encounters many situations which all start to slowly influence her thoughts and change her as a person.
She starts to become stronger and not just be a young widow, who has also lost both her children. She starts to fight for other people in the town and help them through hard times. Although she isn’t able to do this all unscathed, she is unable to understand ‘Why did He raise us up out of the clay, to acquire good and expedient skills, in such extremity, and then send us back so soon to be dust when we yet had useful years before us? ’ such in the case as Maggie and George Viccars.
Anna makes herself a ‘tincture’ from the poppy she had stolen from Elinor to help with the anguish and she was able to have pleasant dreams. Anna and the town continue to be affected by the plague and many more die, Anna tending many in their deathbeds. Anna and Elinor also assist Merry. Anna slept well that night, feeling for once that she has accomplished something that has turned out right. After many more deaths and obstacles the plague has stopped affecting the town and the people are told they are no longer quarantined.
At this meeting Anna’s stepmother Aphra is hysteric with the loss of her last child, Faith. She was ‘clutching the maggoty remnant of her daughter’s corpse. ’ Mompellion, Aphra and Elinor enter a embrace, trying to calm and comfort Aphra, Faith’s head comes apart from her body and Aphra lashes out and slits Elinor’s throat and stabs herself, leaving Anna with no family and one of her closest friend’s gone as well.
Elinor asked for Anna to look after her husband and through this relationship Anna is able to experience a hysical intimacy she has longed for for quite some time. This intimacy is something that has helped Anna start to feel better but it is short lived as she learns that parts of what she thought were true about Elinor and Michael’s relationship were actually lies and is repulsed by him. As Anna is asked to help with the birth of a bastard child from the Bradford family, she finds herself haggling with Elizabeth about receiving money to take the child and leave this city.
There are many events that influence Anna change as a person but the biggest chance for her is not just a spiritual one. She makes the move to Venice, with the Bradford child, and settles there missing some aspects of her old town but feeling safe and happy with her two daughters, feeling that she is now at home. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! shows how a person is able to be in control of their own physical and emotional journey. This is presented to the reader through the narrator stating ‘YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. ’