Goodnight Mister Tom Theme: Growing
Growing is a central theme in Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom. The main character William “Will” Beech grows in many ways including he grows physically, he grows with his knowledge, and he grows in terms of his abilities.
William grows physically. For example, at the beginning of the book, William is described as ‘sickly and pale with limp sandy hair and dull grey eyes.’ He also has the height and is as tall as a six year old, as seen when he stands next to Lucy during his first visit to the Padfield’s home, with Lucy being six years old. Also, when Tom takes Will to Doctor Little due to him vomiting and wetting the bed, the doctor sees him, and then assumes that he is six years old, but when told that he was eight, he was surprised. Near the end of the book, Will grows a lot, and he can now beat Sammy the dog in a race. He also is described as having darker skin, and a healthier look due to him being given good food by Tom. He is also said to have “muscled legs.” This is a way that William grows because it clearly shows his progression from a frail boy who has no energy and no friends to a highly energetic boy who has plenty of friends.
William grows with his knowledge. For example, at the start if the book he only knew the things that his mother told him, like theatres are ‘dens of sin’ and that sex is an evil thing and you go to hell for it. She also told him that boys and girls should not mix together and that it was a sin for a man to meet a woman. Will’s mother also told him that Jews were bad people and he should stay away from them, evidenced when he was talking to her about his time in Little Weirwold. She also told him that babies are a gift from Jesus. William was surprised to learn the truth about each of these, from Zach and Tom. This is a way Will grows because most people his age had almost the exact opposite opinion on each of these things, and when he found out, he was more like a boy his age,...
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