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Student Essays about Tomorrow, When the War Began

11 English van Rossen thinks about Hell, Loyalty, Courage and Goodness



An important theme in the extended text by John Marsden Tomorrow, When the War Began, was change. Change is when something is altered, for example: your surroundings, personality or relationships. Change is an important theme because it is something that happens in the live of all people, and often makes a big difference to our outlook on life. It is a theme which dominates this novel.

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We see the theme of change in the text firstly regarding the characters’ situation. The characters are suddenly pushed into the new and unfamiliar scenario of war. They had been used to peaceful lives, without having to worry about whether the next day would be their last. The change to the characters’ situation is highlighted at the start of the novel, where Ellie says, “We’ve all had to rewrite the scripts of our lives, these last few weeks.” By this Ellie means that their situation has changed dramatically, and they’ve had to acknowledge this and adapt. We can see from this example that change formed the basis for the plot and was therefore an important theme in the text. Change in situations happens to all people and this makes it an important theme in the novel because it is relevant to readers’ lives.

The theme of change is also shown in the change to the characters’ personalities. For example, Homer is portrayed, at the beginning of the text, as being mischievous and a trouble-maker. His character, however, rapidly becomes entirely different – Homer turns into a strong, responsible teacher and completely serious about surviving. This is shown in the text when Homer speaks to the others about their situation. “We’ve just got to become totally nocturnal and triple-check everyone…we should get more supplies in and make it a proper headquarters…organising rations…living off the land [we’ve got to become] a guerrilla outfit.” This quote shows that Homer is serious about their situation and knows what needs to be done in order to survive – a major contrast and change from his playful personality at the text’s beginning, where Homer is described by Ellie asthe guy who wasn’t even trusted to hand out the books at school.” This shows another type of change that is important in the text is ‘change in personality’ because as someone’s situation and surroundings are altered, they change themselves to adapt. Adaptation is important because, on a small or large, or more extreme scale, change happens to all people in their lives and individuals will only succeed if they adapt. The theme of change, therefore, is an important one in this text because readers will be able to relate to it.

Change is also shown in the characters’ outlook throughout the text. In the beginning the characters are normal teenagers whose thinking doesn’t seem too deep or philosophical. As the novel progresses, the characters, especially Ellie, change their outlook and their thoughts about life. After she has been through new situations and experienced many new emotions, Ellie’s character develops into a more complex thinker. This is shown by the quote, “Hell wasn’t anything to do with places, Hell was all to do with people. Maybe Hell was people.” This is said by Ellie when contemplating the popular name of their hideout by local residents, “Hell”. This shows a deeper, philosophical thought process than seen in the beginning of the text and shows that Ellie’s outlook on life has been altered through the events in the text. Further, this shows another way that change is important in the novel, and is important because all people undergo various changes in outlook throughout their lives, making change a relevant and therefore, important theme in Tomorrow, When the War Began.

In conclusion, change is an important theme in the extended text Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden, because it is portrayed in various aspects of the text, such as situation, personality and outlook on life. These are all relevant changes to readers’ lives which makes the theme of change important because it relates to all readers. This novel shows the extreme forms that change can take, and create.

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Tomorrow, When the War Began THEME ESSAY by Adam Lovell with some Mrs V thrown in!

A theme that I found important in the extended text Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden was change. Change is when people have things happen to their circumstances and are forced to think or believe differently. Change was important because it was a dominant theme in the novel as the characters – young teenagers – were forced to cope with the devastation of their lives and their environment caused by war. The theme of change is also important because it is something that affects us all at some time in our lives. We never know what the outcome will be for us, and just hope that our personal skills will make us resilient enough to cope with whatever life brings us.

We see the theme of change in the character of Homer. At the beginning of the novel we learn about Homer’s behaviour at school. He was an irresponsible, troubled youth who enjoyed being the class clown. Ellie says “He was wild and outrageous. He didn’t care what he did or what anyone thought…” Homer always seemed to be in trouble. Halfway through the novel we start to see Homer changing into the leader of the group. Ellie says “It’s hard to think that this fast-thinking guy [Homer] was once hardly even trusted to hand out the books at school.” At the end of the novel we find Homer being the commander of the group, devising plans and giving people orders. Ellie says about Homer’s latest plan to blow up a bridge in Wirrawee to stop enemy movements, “It was a high risk plan, but a brilliant one.” From start to finish in the novel Homer grows into a trusted, responsible leader who is very mature and quick thinking. This is all because of a change in Homer’s environment and circumstances. No longer can he run around and play games as he could before the war started. Therefore change was a dominant theme in the novel for the character of Homer and is relevant because change is something that effects us all at the sometime in our lives.

We also see the theme of change in the character of Ellie. At the beginning of the novel we learn about Ellie’s life as a country girl who is a ‘tomboy’. Ellie was brought up on the farm and had no worries doing practical farm things like: driving the landrover, tractor, working with stock and mending fences. Ellie however, is unsophisticated and not that in touch with her feelings. She has never faced a war situation where she has had to hide, dodge bullets and murder to keep herself and her friends alive. We see the first sign of change in Ellie’s personality when they are sneaking to the showgrounds where all Wirrawee’s residents have been held prisoner. Ellie doesn’t know if she will have the courage to go into the showgrounds but she does. She says, “I felt then, and still feel now, that I was transformed by those four steps. At that moment I stopped being an innocent rural teenager and started becoming someone else, a more complicated and capable person. A force to be reckoned with… not just a polite obedient kid.” From this example, we can see that the theme of change was important to John Marsden’s development of the character of Ellie in his novel Tomorrow, When the War Began.

Another example of change is the changes to Wirrawee. At the beginning of the novel we see Wirrawee as a quiet and small town where it seemed like nothing bad had ever happened. Now things were “being blown up by rocket launchers at the first sign of danger” according to Mr Clement. We see more evidence of change to Wirrawee when Robyn is telling Ellie about the condition of Lee’s restaurant. “The place is a mess, windows broken, tables and chairs smashed.” From these examples we can clearly see that the town of Wirrawee has undergone a massive amount of change going from a nice peace place to a hell of devastation.

In conclusion, the theme of change was very important in the extended text Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden because it was a very dominant theme in the novel. We see it in action through the character development of Ellie and Homer who were forced to respond to the devastating changes to their rural town of Wirrawee and its surround countryside. These changes were brought about by an invasion of Australia. Change is also an important and interesting theme because it is something that occurs to all of us at one time in our lives. We all just hope that we have the personal skills to be resilient enough to cope with what life throws at us!