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Analysis Of A Journal Of The Plague Year

1033 words - 5 pages

Nowadays, infectious diseases have become a major source of mortality and one of the greatest concerns for the society as whole. Equally this was the case during the mid-seventeenth century, when an unexpected plague returned again in Holland. Published in 1722 by Daniel Deofe, the novel was a first-person narrative told by the fictional character of H.F. recalling his experience and events from the plague. It is interesting to know how the author intended the historical novel as a warning to guide and comfort, especially the poor.Classifying the journal as fact or fiction was an issue since its publication being that it involved a fictitious account of a real event. With this idea in ...view middle of the document...

Beyond these facts, the novel contains a mix of Defoe's personal experience and observation, hearsay, second-hand stories, statistics and some general government documentations. Throughout the reading, I have captured that his style is simple and clear by bring out the main idea of each sentence for the most part. The structure is somehow poorly organized since there is not chapters or sub-topics making it slightly hard to read. The reading is repetitive, in which he brings up the same issues at times. Probably he wants the readers to focus deeply on those points. An example can be his views on the poor people and their current situations.
From our first impression, it is clear to say that it is a fictional journal but at the same time Defoe uses real historical resources from numbers and statistics to government documents in writing this novel. I get the sense that he also uses rumor as gossip to entertain his readers. For instance, in the first paragraph he mentions some hearsay about the origin of the plague "some said from Italy...others said it was brought from Candia....but all agreed it was come into Holland again." With the idea that the book is very detailed and that Defoe was an infant (5 year-old) at the time of the plague, it is hard to tell where does he get this record of events from. This point opens the possibility that the narrator (H.F.) may be a reference of Defoe's own uncle, Henry Foe, with the clue that they share the same initials.
Although the novel is written in first-person and signed by H.F. at the end, Defoe neither focus nor talk about the fictional narrator at all. But we all know that the first person point of view provides a deeper and stronger connection with the narrator. Defoe's strategy of choosing the first person perspective allows readers to have a better understanding of the protagonist's thoughts and feelings. It is also...

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