Practice Essay – Goodnight Mr. Tom
* Compose an essay explaining the impact of war and conflict on the main characters * Main themes: determination, love, strength to overcome grief.
Throughout her novel Goodnight Mr. Tom, Michelle Magorian explores the impact of war and conflict on individuals. The protagonists William Beech and Thomas Oakley are challenged to overcome the impact and tragedy of both personal and global war and conflict. The issues faced by them throughout the course of their lives may seem incomprehensible to many, yet through determination, love, and hope, they move beyond these hardships and continued to strive through whatever could be thrown at them. Their amazing transformation together and determination at the hardest of times is made clear to the reader through Magorian’s description of the two protagonist’s journeys through hardship, war and conflict. The reader is challenged to consider the irony of war and tragedy bringing people together and impacting positively on people’s lives.
One of the most central and main themes in the novel is the theme of death and grieving over loved ones. Both main characters William and Thomas, experience tragic incidents over the course of the novel that have a very significant impact on their lives and the people around them. When Mr. Tom’s wife and young child pass away, he is overwhelmed with sadness; he isolates himself from others, and allows himself to suffer alone. Similarly when William experiences the death of both his younger sister and his best friend Zach he suffers in the same way Mr. Tom had before him. “He felt like half of himself had been cut away, that life without Zach was only half a life and even that half was empty.” The impact that these experiences had on the two, however brought them closer as they used each other’s love and care to move forward. As Mr. Tom suggests, “Better to accept, than pretend that they never existed.”
When William is sent from his mother...
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