Private Peaceful Practice Essay
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‘The child is father to the man’ Morpurgo’s portrayal of the characters in Private Peaceful as children establishes what they will be like as adults in difficult conditions especially at war. Discuss this statement, including the extent to which you agree.
The novel ‘Private Peaceful’ written by Michael Morpurgo, is a novel that explores the life of Tommo through past and present accounts of his life. The reader is also introduced to Charlie the brother of Tommo and how they are different individuals. The novel is one that also explores the relationship is Charlie and Tommo have. It could be said that to some extent that what someone is like as a child, is how they are when they are older. This is shown in the case of Charlie. However it could be said that the way a person is as a child, is different to the way that they are seen as when they are older. An example that illustrates this is Tommo.
Charlie as a child was completely different to Tommo. Charlie was an individual and independent person as he stands up for what he believes in, he is brave, he knows his own mind, he is loyal and he doesn’t really worry about what people think of him. Charlie is also expected to look after Tommo. This was because Tommo was unable to look after himself because he was very delicate. Example of this is when Tommo is getting bashed up by Jimmy Parsons, Charlie comes to help, in the end Charlie is the one who gets punished but he just accepts it, ‘…when it’s Charlie’s turn, all we hear are the whacks’p24. Charlie was a character that stood up for what he believed in and what he believed was right. He carried this quality throughout his childhood which made him become into a man that seemed to be loyal and strong.
Charlie is a man/solider was somebody that took most of his childhood qualities to become a person who he wanted to be. Also it is shown that Charlie was expected to look after Tommo at war, just like he was when he was a kid. This was because Tommo lacked independence and he wasn’t responsible and strong enough to care for himself. Some examples of Charlie carrying out his qualities of being loyal is he supported Molly when she was pregnant and also to the soldiers that he was with at war. An example of Charlie standing up for Tommo is every time he is faced with Sergent Hanley, Charlie was always by Tommo’s side helping him get out of difficult situations, ‘Charlie spoke up for me, so my voice wouldn’t betray me.’p106 It could be said that Charlie as both a child and adult is different to the way that Tommo lived his life. Tommo has completely different qualities compared to Charlie.
Tommo is an individual that relied on other especially his brother Charlie to look after him and the way his life was for example his first at school and they were walking towards the school and Charlie said to Tommo, ‘Anyway I will look after you’p10. But never to forget at war Charlie was like a guard to him and a quote for this is ‘ He never nanny me but everybody knew he would stick by me no matter what’.p116He was a person who was at times jealous of the relationship between Molly and Charlie. This caused Tommo to be a sad and down person, that caused him to feel he was breaking away from Charlie. An example of this was when Charlie and Molly left school and worked in the house causing them to see each other daily. Tommo is a character that is seen to change when he gets older as he is made to change his life so he could become a stronger and better person.
Tommo as a adult/solder he was a character that learnt many life lesson through the way that Charlie led his life when he was younger for example he had built up self belief to talk to Anna and he picked up that confidence off Charlie. Tommo could see that Charlie was a person that had a vision on how he wanted to live his life. This caused Tommo to see that he needed to change his life and become a true man, especially when Charlie died. An example of this is when he needs to look after the family and become the man of the house.’ I want you to promise me you’ll look after things for me’.pg 174. Tommo and Charlie lived a really close relationship when they were young, but as time progressed it started to have up and down phases.
Charlie and Tommo had a really tight relationship when they were young but as time when on it started to fade a little until towards the end of the book when Charlie knew he was going to be punished after his actions. Then it became pretty intense and there relationship that was once strong when they were young became even stronger then it had ever been. An example of this is before Charlie gets shot. “This is going to be difficult enough without tears.” He holds me an arm length away.’pg176.
The novel ‘Private Peaceful’, is one that makes an impact on the individual. It is a book that shows how a person is able to change dramatically over a period of time. It is also a novel that explores how individuals can stay the same, believing from the start that the things learnt in childhood, is able to be carried on into adult life. Tommo and Charlie are examples of this. The author is also trying to make the reader, look at the way that relationships are seen, and how one event can change a relationship so quickly and the impact it can have on somebody. The novel makes people realise that even though change plays a big part, it is really about the life lessons that somebody learns along the way that is the most important part of someone’s life.