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A suspense filled story, an interesting setting, fascinating characters, a thought provoking theme all combine to make a novel a good read. To what extent is this statement true of "Goodnight Mr Tom" by Michelle Magorian?

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Introduction

Lorna Wright 3B2 "Goodnight Mr Tom" Task : A suspense filled story, an interesting setting, fascinating characters, a thought provoking theme all combine to make a novel a good read. To what extent is this statement true of "Goodnight Mr Tom" by Michelle Magorian? "Goodnight Mr Tom" by Michelle Magorian is a novel which I have recently read and thoroughly enjoyed. I completely agree with the above statement. The novel contains all the elements necessary for a good read and more. William Beech is evacuated from a deprived area of London during the Second World War. He goes to stay with Tom Oakley, a grumpy, anti-social man in his sixties. William was beaten up by his mother and was taught that everything he did was a sin so is scared and has no confidence. He settles down and gradually becomes a happy, healthy 9 year old but has to return home after a few months. His mother beats him then leaves him in a cupboard for dead. ...read more.

Middle

He is described as being: "thin and sickly-looking, pale with limp sandy hair and dull grey eyes." Michelle Magorian uses words like "reticent", "cautiously" and "gingerly" to describe his actions at this time. Willie changes a lot throughout the novel. Among other factors, the love and respect he receives from Tom allow Willie to become a normal 9 year old. After staying with Tom for 6 months Willie is healthy, confident, happy, energetic, has made friends and feels good about himself. He is the opposite of how he was when he first arrived, "Willie sang...he was bursting with energy...grinning and twirling...cheeks flushed with pleasure...burst into the room." Willie realises how much he has changed after returning to London and being violently beaten up by his mother, "he felt as though he was a different person...he was no longer Willie. It was as if he had said goodbye to an old part of himself. Neither was he two separate people. He was Will inside and out." ...read more.

Conclusion

His parents are travelling entertainers so he has never had stability and is constantly moving around. He enjoys being the centre of attention whereas Willie likes to fade into the background. As the story goes on Willie becomes more confident and more like Zach whereas Zach becomes quieter and more like Willie. The writer has depicted very well through these characters how much your upbringing affects the type of person you end up as. Both Tom and Willie lose loved ones in the book and both deal with their losses in similar ways. Both first denied anything had happened and tried to ignore the fact they were gone then eventually faced the pain and remembered their loved ones. They were then able to move on yet remember the happy memories. It takes Tom many years to get over losing his wife and son but Willie, with the support of Tom, is able to come to terms with both Zach and his younger sister's death. I agree entirely with the statement given. Michelle Magorian has combined all the elements necessary for a good read with "Goodnight Mister Tom". I thought this book was very enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone. ...read more.

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