Tomorrow when the war began- John Marsden Novel essay. “Tomorrow When The War Began” by John Marsden, is a novel of survival, friendship, love and war. He uses many language techniques (e. g. simile, metaphor, personification, oxymoron, irony, symbol, allusion etc. ) to get across to the reader the importance of each of the themes discussed. He also uses these techniques to set the mood in each chapter and to help emphasise each major point in the novel. “We’ve learnt a lot and had to figure out what’s important- what matters, what really matters. ”- Ellie

Survival in “Tomorrow When The War Began” is a very important issue. The whole novel is about Ellie and friends learning to become independent and to fend for themselves in a world of violence and disaster. With there families and loved ones in capture, the team of troubled teenagers must fight to stay alive and kill, or be killed. John Marsden uses a variety of narrative devices to convey the meaning of survival and the worth of life itself to Ellie and her friends. He uses techniques like symbolism to represent a characters status or position in the book.

E. g. Ellie was chosen to start the book off, because she is the main character, so the author wants the reader to be informed about her first of all, with her writing about there series of unfortunate events that make up the whole rest of the novel. He also uses imagery very well, by describing each event in clear detail to emphasise the way the characters are feeling, and the mood of the place they are at etc. E. g. “In the house, nothing was wrong, and that was wrong. There was no sign of life at all. Everything was neat and tidy.

At that time of day there should have been food spread out on the kitchen table, there should have been dishes in the sink, the TV should have been chattering in the background. But all was silent. Corrie opened the door behind me and came in quietly. ‘Jesus what’s happened’ she said, not as a question. The tone of her voice terrified me even more. I just stood there…’ In the novel, the characters decide to steal, kill, break and enter in order to survive. They must go through a series of challenges to get from point A to point B by stealing vehicles and food.

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When Ellie and Robyn pick up Lee from his restaurant they have to kill soldiers to get away. Same as when Ellie, Kevin and Corrie blow up the lawnmower, they also blow up soldiers in order to stay safe for a little while. Friendship is another major theme in the novel, John Marsden uses this theme to overlap with other issues like survival and war. The characters of the novel all depend on those around them for help and support in everything they do. Friendship provides people with strength, hope and love, and all these things help a person overcome tragedies, death, and moments when it seems life isn’t worth living.

An example from the novel would be when Corrie’s house is blown up, she is devastated and it is only with the support of the others that she can continue. A real life issue about friendship/love and survival would be the incident with the Beaconsfield miners. The miners were sure they would die, but with the thought in there heads of family and friends outside waiting for there arrival, they continued on battling for there lives, relying only on the support of loved ones. When Lee was shot in the leg by soldiers, Robyn carried Lee over her shoulder until it was safe enough to treat the wound.

Robyn overcame her fear of blood and cuts, to save Lee from infection and disease. John Marsden uses techniques like first person narration, and he uses Ellie to describe how everyone is changing, evolving and overcoming everything in the novel that gets thrown at them. “That was the first moment at which I started to realise what true courage was. Up until then, everything had been unreal, like a night-stalking game at a school camp. To come out of the darkness now would be to show courage of a type that I’d never had to show before, never even known about.

I has to search my own mind and body to find if there was a new part of me somewhere. I felt there was a spirit in me that could do this thing, but it was a spirit I hadn’t known about. If I could only find it I could connect with it and then maybe, just maybe, I could start to defrost the fear that had frozen my body. Maybe I could do this dangerous and terrible thing. ” This quote represents all the characters in the book, and what is expected of them to do in the novel to overcome fears and troubles on there own, as well as together.

Love and War in this novel overlap each other in a way that makes the war seem easier to deal with but love a lot harder to win with someone. There is the saying ‘All’s far in love and war’ but when the love issues are between friends, and the war is between opposing countries, the teenagers become confused in what they really must do to keep out of trouble and fighting with there friends. Whilst trying to defend themselves against the soldiers, they also try to keep some kind of normality between themselves by allowing themselves to fall in love with each other.

One example would be when Ellie finds herself gaining a liking towards Homer, who has a liking for Fi. But Ellie is also not sure if she likes Lee. She finds herself confused and unsure, but she still must keep her head clear for fighting the soldiers and not fighting with her friends. With all the characters so caught up in trying to stay alive, they have no time for things like love, and keeping themselves in a good state of mind. This leaves them confused and almost losing team mates through love. …What I’d never forgotten was the sight of two steers half way up the ramp, just a couple of minutes away from death, but one still trying to mount the other. I know it’s a crude comparison, but that’s a bit the way we were. ‘in the midst of death we are in life’. We were in the middle of a desperate struggle to stay alive, but here was I, still thinking about boys and love. ”-Ellie. “Tomorrow When The War Began” by John Marsden is a book of great talent, bravery, friendship, survival and will to stay alive in times of war and death. This novel has many different language techniques and devices used at all points throughout.

This helps to create a better mood and so the reader can set a picture in there head of what is going on. Tomorrow when the war began has many references to the real world, and its issues. The invasion of Wirrawee is much the same as the China and Tibet issue. With China trying to overrule Tibet and claim ownership of it. This is the same as the soldiers in this novel trying to take over Wirrawee and its surrounding areas by capturing everyone and fighting on just the idea in their heads of friendship, superiority and the love and praise each side will get if they continue, and win the war.


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