Tomorrow When the War Began: over Coming Obstacles
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‘Tomorrow when the War began’, by John Marsden tells a story of a group of teenagers overcoming challenges and obstacles that have interfered with their normal life. By going through many unimaginable situations, they have learnt to conquer their fears and face some of the most frightening events that could happen to anyone. The writer uses various language techniques and realistic descriptions in the novel to help audiences to understand the main concept of the story
In the beginning of the novel, the seven main characters; Ellie, Homer, Lee, Robyn, Kevin, Corrie and Fiona, found their home country invaded and families imprisoned after their return from the camping trip. Although filled with shock and disbelief, their natural reflexes and instincts helped them to overcome the biggest obstacle, survival. They quickly adapted and undertook the task of getting used and being alert to their surroundings. The quote, ‘Trying to think calmly I said, “The only reason for calling would be if we can get help from our families…the other reason for calling is because we’re all desperate to find out, but we may create danger for ourselves…I don’t think we should call,” ’ (page 62~63) shows that even though they were in a fatal situation they were still able to think logically to ensure their safety.
When separated into smaller groups to discover more about their family’s whereabouts, Ellie, Corrie and Kevin risked their lives to reach the Showground and faced a threat of getting captured by the invaders. The quotes, ‘So, at last we knew. A coldness crept through me and I can feel the goose bumps on my skin. This was the new reality of our lives. I got the shakes a bit, but there was no time for that. We had to go.
We slid backwards through the grass and began to retrace our tracks from tree to tree.’ (page 84) explains though reaching the Showground created another problem for the three characters, they managed to not just ‘act on the spot’ and handled the plan maturely with their own strategies. Though they were in danger and had a probability of getting captured by the invaders, all three characters gathered their courage and managed to overcome their fear of comporting as if they were hunted down. The characters encounter the fear and distress of the invasion, and successfully determines the dangers surrounding them.
While being confronted for the first time by their enemies, Ellie, Corrie and Kevin did not get distracted by their fear and their limited time for thinking. ‘An instant later the lawn mower became an exploding bomb,’ (page 90) highlights that even under pressure, the characters were able to eradicate the soldiers in an efficient way and overcome their obstacle of being destroyed themselves. The quote ‘ It was hard for me to believe that I, plain old Ellie, had probably just killed three people…I was so filled with horror… I felt that my life was permanently damaged, that I could never be normal again, that the rest of my life would just be a shell.’ (page 95)
The outcome of the terrifying events caused Ellie to think of herself as a murderer and resulted in thoughts of thinking about the families of the dead and what they would feel. The fear and horror created by the death of the soldiers causes Ellie to feel guilty and ashamed of what she’s done. After Homer’s comforting words: ‘Don’t feel so bad. this is war now, and normal rules don’t apply. These people have invaded our land, locked up our families…and they also tried to kill you three.’ (page 96~97), Ellie finally accepts the fact that her actions were of self protection and was not murder. These words helped Ellie overcome her thought of guilt and shame, and helped her along the way of their journey.
Finding food and other important supplies for themselves was also an obstacle to survival during war times. The characters made sure that they had enough food to survive by continually coming up with helpful plans and strategies. Having the knowledge that each house in Wirrawee must have food (even though invaded), the characters decided to ‘Load Corrie’s Toyota with everything useful they can find…then pick up the Landrover at my place and fill it too. I’m talking food, clothes, petrol…’ (page 111).
The characters didn’t just think of the short term solution to their food supplies they came up with a long term solution. The characters came up with many plans to solve the problem, ‘We should start having food ration…bring animals in here…build a few vegetable gardens’ (page 176~191). This also conveys that the characters were not afraid of their obstacles and was willing to accept challenges with their creativity and determination for survival.