Tomorrow_ When the War Began by mifei


									Tomorrow, When the War Began

      By John Marsden
Lynn Kent, Donnybrook DHS, 2004

All work should be done in your English journal.


   1. Find out what information you can on John Marsden.
   2. List some of his other novels. Have you read any of them? If so which ones?

Tomorrow, when the war began

What do you think the title means? How can a war begin or have begun tomorrow?
Why do you think there is a comma after “Tomorrow”? (Read the title aloud with the
comma and then without it).

Choices and decisions

John Marsden explores the question – what if….? What if society was suddenly taken
over and you were one of a group left free? What could or would you do about the

“We had to make some quick decisions.” (p153)

   1. As you read the novel, note the problems faced by the group of teenagers and
      the decisions they make. Think about whether or not you would have acted
   2. In your journal, make a table like the one below and, as you read the novel, list
      the problems and decisions taken to solve them

     Situation               Problem              Decision           Consequences

   3. Choose one situation and write a paragraph on whether you think the teenagers
      made the right decision or whether they could have done something different.
      Explain what you would have done if you had been in the same situation.
      Below are examples of some situations you might discuss –

                “the three musketeers” (p79-81)
                “We‟re going to have to get him out.” (136-140)
                “that‟s the way the cookie crumbles.” (170-177)
                “What am I going to do about Homer?” (192-194)
                “You should just go with the feelings.” (199-202)
                “Three choices.” (238-243)
                “I‟m not going to dump her and run.” (280-282)

Lynn Kent, Donnybrook DHS, 2004

- You may want to work with a partner on some of the following questions -


   1. Many geographical features of the area around Wirrawee are important to the
      story. Sometimes an author provides a map where the action takes place.

               Do you think this would have helped your reading of the novel?
               Why do you think the author goes into so much detail about features of
                the setting?
               The author‟s note tells us that “the settings in this book are based on
                real places.” Do you think this information is necessary or helpful?

   2. Make a sketch map showing the main settings of the events. Show such
      features as –
                    - Tailor‟s Stitch (pp 4-5)
                    - Satan‟s Steps and Hell (1-2,22-33)
                    - Wombegonoo (51)
                    - The location of various characters‟ homes
                    - The town of Wirrawee and the Showgrounds (74-85)
                    - The location of the council depot, the picnic ground, the Blue
                      Star Fuel depot (249, 255-56) and the bridge(247-8)

       Make some notes around or underneath the map using, for example, numbers,
       arrows and boxes, to indicate where the main events occurred.

   3. “This is pretty nice for Hell.” (31) Why? What does this “little wild
      kingdom” become for the group? “It suddenly seemed obvious that if we had
      a future, it would be in Hell. And we began to realise that there might still be
      a life for us.” (111) Is this what Hell usually means? What did become Hell?

Point of View

   1. Why do you think the author chose to have Ellie tell the story? Was it just
      because she was the best writer?
   2. What if the story had been told from the point of view of different characters –
      say Kevin, Ellie‟s mother and the invading general? In what ways might this
      have changed the story?
   3. How do other characters contribute to the telling of the story? For example,
      re-read the following passages in which characters other than Ellie tell part of
      the story –

               Homer and Fi (pp96-103)
               Chris (152-55)
               Robyn (chapter 17)
               Fi ( 264-68)
               Homer and Lee (264-279)

Lynn Kent, Donnybrook DHS, 2004

       What events are they telling?
       What kind of role are they playing?


   1. In what ways are the group of teenagers different from each other?
   2. Brainstorm some words and phrases that you think sum up each of the
      characters – Elli, Fi, Kevin, Corrie, Lee, Robyn, Homer and Chris
   3. Which characters develop and change during the story? How? Which
      characters stay much the same.
   4. Write at least a paragraph on each of the following characters describing how
      they change through the story. Begin with Ellie. Re-read the following
      passages and discuss how her character develops –

               Deciding to camp in Hell (pp3-6)
               “It was a dance of courage” (81-82)
               “I felt that my life was permanently damaged” (95-97)
                “I dreamed about you” (158-161, 178)
               “This was a tough question” (192-194, 267-268)
               “I too had blood on my hands” (215-218)
               “evil was a human invention” (242-243)
               “loyalty, courage, goodness. I wonder if they‟re human inventions

           Homer – We see Homer through Ellie‟s eyes but he clearly surprises her at
           several points in the story. What are these surprises? What picture of
           Homer do you have by the end of the novel?

           Fi – „Sometimes Fi seemed like an exotic butterfly.” (p33). This is how
           Ellie sees Fi at the start of the novel. Why? Does she stay like this?


(Themes are the messages the author attempts to bring to the story).

What themes are evident in this text?


Choose ONE of the following writing tasks.

    1. Write an essay comparing Tomorrow, when the war began with another
       novel, film, poem or song that you have read. Choose a text this novel
       reminds you of; or
    2. Write a book review of Tomorrow, when the war began in which you
       recommend it to young people of your age. What might attract young people
       of different sexes, backgrounds and beliefs to this book? Consider the
       following possibilities –

               Relationships between the characters – realistic?

Lynn Kent, Donnybrook DHS, 2004

               Ideas in the novel – different kinds of choices facing young people?
               The narrative or plot – plenty of action and suspense?
               Characters – believable?
               Bush setting – sinister?

If you enjoyed Tomorrow, when the war began, you may like to read the next one in
the series Dead of Night. There are at least eight in the series.


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