RSN VCE English 2013: Restoration England

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RSN VCE English 2013: Restoration England by Mind Map: RSN VCE English 2013:  Restoration England

1. Class and Social Status

1.1. The three classes

1.1.1. Middle class: the professionals and business people

1.1.2. Upper class: the wealthy families who often inherited their wealth

1.1.3. Lower class: the workers (usually worked in mines, factories and agriculture)


1.2.1. "But the habits of a lifetime are hard-shed and i dropped into a curtsy without willing it" pg. 12 - shows how the importance of social status is so entrenched in society, even after such dramatic upheaval within the village.

1.2.2. "She pinched her face at this. She was not accustomed to sharing a doorway with the servants" pg. 13

1.2.3. "A servant has no right to stay, once she's dismissed. But I did stay" pg. 4 - Anna challenges the unwritten laws of obedience of the working class

1.2.4. "Tom was little better than simple himself, scraping together a poor living as a ploughboy or mine-hand" pg. 13 - Tom is an example of the uneducated lower class

1.2.5. "But then she recalled who I was and who she was and the face set again into its prideful sneer" pg. 285 - Highlights the division between the classes, do not traditionally operate on equal terms with each other

1.3. Importance in the story:

1.3.1. The emphasis on social status and class heavily reflects the time period that the novel is set in. Social class played a critical role in society relative to today, where it has little importance in developed countries.

1.3.2. Shows how humans can react to disaster: Before the plague hit, class was a defining feature of Eyam, where as afterwards class is of much less importance.

1.3.3. Magnifies the strong nature of Anna, as she is able to overcome her social status during the course of the novel.

1.3.4. Enhances the readers understanding of the treatment of women- being a woman in the time the 17th century instantly lowered ones social status.

1.3.5. Shows the strength of the relationship between Elinor and Anna. Their friendship defies social class which is described to be a critical decider of relationships in the village.

1.3.6. The story is narrated from the perspective of someone of low social class, this emphasises the severity of the plague due to the poorer living and working conditions.

2. Puritanism

2.1. Reasons why it is important to the story.

2.1.1. Represents change in the town of eyam because of the different attitude displayed towards clothing at the start and end of the book.

2.1.2. Also important because it outlines the religious division in England at the time and also in Eyam. For example the young Quaker family and the wickfords live on the outskirts of the village due to their different faith.

2.2. - Puritanism is a branch of christianity, they were also known as protestants. - They apposed the universal authority of the pope. - They were generally seen as extremists in their beliefs - When Charles II took the throne of England he implemented laws in order to restrict the spread of puritanism


3. Women in the C17th

3.1. Background: BACKGROUND: The key quality in a woman was an ability to run the household efficiently. In the countryside, it was up to the women to maintain the household, milk cows, feed animals and grow herbs and vegetables.

3.1.1. The housewife The housewife was supposed to have some knowledge of medicine to be able to treat her family's illnesses. If she could not, they would go to a wise woman. Only the wealthy could afford a doctor.

3.1.2. Most women were wives and mothers, and they tended to marry at young ages- the minimum legal age for marriage among women was 12 years of age.


3.2.1. "no schools, even for boys"

3.2.2. "i knew how easy it is for a widow to be turned a witch in the common mind'

3.2.3. "I think you like to come and go without a mans say so"

3.2.4. "A servant has no right to stay once she's dismissed"

3.2.5. "im not made to be a mans chattel"

3.2.6. "Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table"


3.3.1. Relevent to the story because it is set in the 17th century through the eyes of a woman

3.3.2. Anna's transformation into freedom is a contradiction to the stereotype of women's lives in the 17th century

3.3.3. Important to the story to develop Anna and the women who rejected the stereotype of women as heroes of the text


3.4.1. The representation of women in the text is extremely accurate to the real life reality of women's lives in the 17th century


3.5.1. One example is when women seek out a knowledgeable woman for information

4. Superstition & Witchcraft

4.1. The actual meaning of the word (witchcraft) is art or craft of the Wise Where as in England the legal defination of witch was "a person who hath a conference with the Devil to consult with him or to do some act."

4.1.1. 'I can't see my reflection in her eyes! Sign of a witch! Sign of a witch!' p92

4.2. Some possible superstitions at the time included

4.2.1. if a candle flame turns suddenly blue there is a ghost nearby. ringing a bell on Halloween will scare evil spirits away. knocking on wood keeps evil away. walking around your home three times backward and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween will keep evil spirits away from your home throughout the year.

4.3. accused witches within the text, Anys and Mem Gowdie

4.3.1. the people who accused them were John and Urith Gordon, Alexander and Mary Hadfield, Lib Hancock, Grad and Grace Hamilton

4.4. From the 15th through to the 17th century a general hysteria that witches existed and were evil consumed Europe. So much so that it is estimated that between 50,000 to 80,000 individuals were executed, believed to be witches. Since it was common for accused witches to be burnt at the stake, the witch hysteria is often known as 'the burning times'. Accused witches were often subjected to 'ordeals' which were thought to betray their guilt or show their innocence. Once such ordeal was by water where an accused witch was dunked - if they sank they were innocent, if they floated they had supernatural powers. Today many historians believe that witch executions were in fact a form of 'gender-cide'. Typically women who were marginalised from society, had knowledge of the healing properties of plants, or had other knowledge or ideas that may have somehow went against the persuasive ignorance or prejudices of the society they were in, found themselves accused of being witches.

4.4.1. 'Let’s swim her!’ yelled an ale-soused voice. p. 90

4.4.2. If a witch was to survive the drowning they would burn them to get rid of them

4.4.3. For further reading:

4.4.4. Patrons of witchcraft were accused of doing a number of different "evil" things. Among their sins were the ability to cast spells, communicate with the Devil and take a different form (often an animal) and do "evil" things. Witches were identified as evil due to their association with the Devil. It was believed that a witch received her powers from a pact with the Devil. The Devil communicated with the witch and gave him or her the knowledge necessary to carry out evil acts. Most witches were accused by someone they had recently come in contact with who suddenly fell ill or experienced inexplicable fits. Often times other witnesses came forward and testified against the accused, saying they either saw the accused perform witchcraft or that they, too, were put under an evil spell. Besides testimony, witches were also identified by midwife's examination. If any black marks were found on the accused's body, the mark was often considered Satan's mark and proof that she was a witch.

4.5. To be called a witch, was the worst thing possible!!! women who were suspected tried to hide 'evidence' as much as possible. Most commonly any women who was a widow was suspected to be a witch.

4.5.1. 'I saw plainly what she tried to hide. It was a spell...'p.145

4.5.2. 'I knew how easy it was for a widow to be turned witch in the common mind...p.38 Possible for Anna to have been suspected aswell as Anys and Mem Gowdie Mem and Anys were both educated with medicine and healing, this further incriminated them to the common mind.

4.6. Within Europe, witchcraft and witchery was 'common'. Many innocent women died due to being named a witch. Most of the witch trials that did occur occurred in Central Europe, rather than England, this is true to the text, as only 1 woman was killed due to a 'trial' within the text, not many women as in real life.

4.6.1. Approximate statistics on the number of trials for witchcraft and executions in various regions of Europe in the period 1450–1750 British Isles and North America 5,000 trials, 1,500-2,000 executions Empire (Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria 50,000 trials, 25,000-30,000 executions France 3,000 trials 1,000 executions Eastern Europe (Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Hungary) 7,000 trials, 2,000 executions Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy) 10,000 trials, 1,000 executions

5. The Plague & Plague Medicine


5.1.1. “Nettle for the blood. Starwort and violet leaves for the lungs. Silverweed to cool a fever. Cress for the stomach. The worts of blow-ball for the liver, bat-weed for the glands, and vervain for the throat."

5.1.2. “It called for the roasting in embers of a great onion, hollowed out and filled with a fig, chopped rue and a dram of Venice treacle.”

5.1.3. “He says it is a remedy much thought of among the Florentine doctors who have had a large experience with the Plague”

5.1.4. “here in this sorry little cottage, is find all the herbs of a strength-giving virtue and combine them in a tonic to fortify the healthy”

5.2. Scenes

5.2.1. Elinor brings a bag with a dried toad to put over Jamie’s heart to relieve him of his pain caused by the plague.

5.2.2. When Anna and Elinor plan to find a cure to the plague by strengthening the body’s immune system, with the herbs from the Gowdie’s garden.

5.2.3. Edward Cooper was treated with leaches.

5.3. Background Detail

5.3.1. The Black plague of England in 1665 was the last recorded major outbreak of the plague infection.

5.3.2. The plague was responsible for the deaths of over 20% of London's population in 1665

5.3.3. London Officials ordered a mass cull of flea carrying pets, such as dogs and cats. This lead to an increase in flea carrying rats, resulting in the plague being prolonged. This shows the people at the time had knowledge that the infection may have been spread by fleas.

5.3.4. Plague Doctors used to wear protective 'masks', these were filled with straw and incense in order to 'filter' the air they were breathing. They also used a cane pointer to inspect the patients, in order to prevent the spread of infection through contact. The people of London at the time were therefore taking any safety measures possible and trying anything they felt may protect them.

5.4. Relevance to the novel

5.4.1. The entire novel is centred around the events of the plague, If the infestation had not occurred then this novel would have never occurred.

5.4.2. The infestation leads to the self-quarentine of the village. This sets up the base of this novel.

5.4.3. The presence of the plague challenges the society, forcing the citizens to display the good and bad ethics of human nature (Anna and Elinor display good values, while Josiah Bont and the Bradfords show the darker morals)

5.4.4. The lack of knowledge surrounding the plague represented throughout the novel drives the element of fear.

5.5. Accurate representation within the novel.

5.5.1. Many mass burnings in London of pepper and frankincense to 'Cleanse the air' (Real). A mass burning to kill the infection on possessions (Novel). This idea is represented in the novel just not for the same reasons as in real life.

5.5.2. London residents encouraged to smoke tobacco (Real). Not represented in the text.

5.5.3. Plague doctors wearing 'protective' clothing and using a cane to examine patients (Real). London doctors refusing to touch patients due to risk of infection (Novel).

5.5.4. Mass culling of cats and dogs in London, resulting in an outbreak of rats, prolonging the plague (Real). Not represented in the novel.

5.5.5. Bloodletting used as an accepted method to help plague victims (Real). Not a method used in the novel. Although in both London and the novel there was a number of people against the Bloodletting method.

5.5.6. Placing live frogs on plague cysts to help reduce the size of the cysts (Real). Placing dead frogs over the hearts of plague victims to help cure them of the plague (Novel).

5.5.7. An awareness of the method of spread by the plague such as fleas and through human contact (Real). Plague though to have spread by 'seeds', an understanding of contamination as shown through the mass burning (Novel).

5.5.8. The importance of removing and burring infected corpses was seen in London (Real). This was also important in the novel and sometimes led to mass burials.

5.5.9. The importance of fresh, clean air was important in London, as shown through constant burnings to 'cleanse' the air. Also the use of masks filled with organic matter to filter the air used by the Plague Doctors (Real).

5.5.10. Importance of clean water recognised in London (Real). Not seen in novel as the coins were placed in the town well to "carry away the plague seeds".

5.5.11. Natural organic matter based tonics were prepared in both London and throughout the novel by various characters.

5.5.12. Plague Doctors were often quarantined away from society in London due to fears of the plague spreading to other members of the public (Real). The entire town in the novel is quarantined due to the same fear of the infection spreading to surrounding towns (Novel)

5.6. Links