I would like to add two sources to aid our discussion regarding Defoe’s “Journal of The Plague”. First source is a news article about how pandemic changes behavior of people to (don’t be too surprised) being nice! I know right, unbelievable. With all of the anti-vax, anti-masks, anti-common sense movements, it can be easy to feel as if the community is failing everyone, especially the most vulnerable (those who can’t vaccinate themselves, elderly, pregnant women and etc.) Despite all these negativity this article shows how “during these unprecedented times”, there still a little bit of humanity left through examples from the piece we are reading. I feel like this raises an important theme of community vs individuals. How “during these unprecedented times”, people have to think of themselves not as one, but as a whole, interconnected web, where actions of one directly affect everyone.
Other source is, honestly, much more complex and can be (actually is) hard to read, since its an academic one. It is titled “Telling Figures and Telling Feelings: The Geography of Emotions in the London of Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year and Due Preparations for the Plague (1722)” and trust me, it is worth to at least scim through. Here is a little quote that I feel like can help me to push you to check it out:
“What really matters for Defoe is the human impact and suffering, and it is not so much the geography of the plague that he is writing, but the geography of the emotions of the London people.”
So, while reading this text, one would understand how Defoe is not just describing history of the plague, but is actually documenting an emotional part of the history. When he is talking about infants being born to dead mothers, trying to feed on the milk of a corpse, lying motionless on the cold ground. How the infected people are treated in inhumane ways, being locked up with no food and blamed by everyone even if they had no other options left. These atrocities and horrible incidents happening (all in detailed description) are analyzed and showcased in this text, so highly recommend to read/skim through 🙂