*WARNING: Spoilers ahead for The Wonder*
With a star-studded cast and a captivating story, Netflix’s The Wonder has been generating plenty of buzz since it first appeared on screens.
The story revolves around a young girl named Anna who supposedly hasn’t eaten any food for months and is somehow not dead but is also showing no signs of starvation as she claims to be sustained by ‘manna from Heaven.’
Anna’s tale in The Wonder perplexes not only Florence Pugh’s Elizabeth ‘Lib’ Wright, who believes the girl’s situation is impossible, but also fans who have been left wondering exactly what manna from Heaven is supposed to be.
Anna’s claims of being kept alive by Manna from Heaven
In The Wonder, we follow an English nurse named Lib Wright who been sent to a small rural village in 1862 Ireland to observe a young girl named Anna who has supposedly not eaten any food for four months.
Anna claims that she doesn’t need to eat as she is being sustained by manna from Heaven.
Word of Anna’s claims had clearly spread far and wide since her fasting began as she attracts the attention of tourists and pilgrims who believe what she is doing is a miracle and that she might be a saint.
Unsurprisingly, as a trained nurse, Lib is instantly skeptical of Anna’s claims and begins to observe the girl and her unusual family.
What is Manna from Heaven in The Wonder?
Manna is a type of food that is referenced in the Bible.
During the Israelites’ exodus of Egypt, God supposedly provided manna for them once their own supplies of food began to run out.
The Bible’s Book of Exodus describes manna as being a fine, flake-like food that is similar to coriander seeds in size. It is supposedly white in color, giving it the appearance of frost when it lies on the ground.
Several types of food have been touted as potentially being manna as described in the Bible which includes honeydew produced by scale insects, dew secretions by plants and forms of lichen.
Encyclopaedia Britannica suggests that honeydew from the tamarisk manna scale insect is one of the most likely candidates for being the biblical food.
How is Anna really surviving?
Anna is surviving as her mother is secretly feeding her.
Lib’s suspicions surrounding Anna and her family are raised when she witnesses a strange ritual they perform as part of evening prayers where the girl’s mother, Rosaleen, kisses Anna on the lips while cupping her face.
The nurse suspects that Rosaleen is secretly feeding her daughter this way – in similar fashion to how a bird would feed its chicks – and to prove her theory, Lib banishes Anna’s family from her room so that there can be no interference in her observations.
Unsurprisingly, not long after this, Anna starts to fall ill and shows signs of starvation.
When Lib confronts Anna’s family about her worsening condition, they refuse to do anything about it as they claim that the girl has been chosen by God and that whatever happens to her is his doing and so Lib and journalist William devise a plan to help Anna escape.
The Wonder is available to stream now on Netflix after releasing on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.