Monday, February 1, 2010

The Poor Creatures

The piece from Defoe's novel Journal of the Plague Year was an incredibly detailed description of the horrors that people witnessed during the Plague. It was incredibly disturbing trying to imagine living during this time. Defoe was only 5 years old, and I read somewhere that this novel was written from the experiences of his uncle, but it shows how big of an impact these experiences had on even the youngest children. Throughout the novel I was struck by the repeated descriptions of the infected and hopeless as the "poor people" and the "poor creatures." How else can you describe the way people must have felt at the time? No matter how hard you try there are very few words that can represent the horrors these people were experiencing. I now realize that our country and the world could have much bigger problems than just a recession.


  1. Like the use of "rational creature" in Swift, this phrase seems ripe for further exploration, especially considering the way class difference is represented in the novel.

  2. I also thought the details of the plague were graphic and disturbing. I can't imagine the scars that a child would have after going through the horrific situation at such a young age. However, when he used the phrases "poor people" and "poor creatures," I felt like he lost some of the personal sympathy. It doesn't mean as much since he refers to them generically instead of personally.