Last Updated on March 31, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 184
The Book of Showings by Julian of Norwich (ca. 1390) is not a character-heavy work; the piece concerns itself almost entirely with Julian and—more specifically—with a profound experience she has over a period of a few days and nights in the year of 1373 while living in Norwich. Julian's visions begin after she has been ill for almost a week and is near death. At this point, she witnesses sixteen "shewings" of a spiritual nature that change her life. After some rest, she is physically healthy again and goes on to live a long and contented life.
Another reason that there are not many characters in this story is that Julian is an anchoress, which means that she has devoted herself to a life of spiritual meditation. Because of this, she has little contact with anyone outside of the church for almost her entire adult life.
The focus on Julian's book is almost entirely about her spiritual life and her visions, which she refers to as "ghostly sights" and her struggle to interpret them and adapt them to her life in a meaningful way.
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