Good Night, Mr. TomBy Michelle Magorian Literature Circle Expansion Midterm Project Jessica Mauer
Introduction: About the Book • “London is poised on the brink of World War II. Timid, scrawny Willie Beech-the abused child of a single mother-is evacuated to the English countryside. At first, he is terrified of everything, of the country sounds and sights, even of Mr. Tom, the gruff, kindly old man who has taken him in. But gradually Willie forgets the hate and despair of his past. He learns to love a world he never knew existed, a world of friendship and affection in which harsh words and daily beatings have no place. Then a telegram comes. Willie must return to his mother in London. When weeks pass by with no word from Willie, Mr. Tom sets out for London to look for the young boy he has come to love as a son”.
Prologue In the book Good Night Mr. Tom, there are many themes that are found throughout the book. These themes include: Friendship, Family, Finding Oneself, Life, Death, Fitting In, Grieving, Motivation, Control, Freedom and Growth. For this Project I decided to create a collage using pictures and quotes found within the book to represent events in this book that revolve around these central themes.
London Bridge: Family Roots, Past Life, New Beginnings • London was the place of birth to Willie. • He was born into a family with a abusive single mom and father who was killed in WWII. • London bridge symbolizes the place where Willie was from, not only physically but mentally. • Willie did not exist in London, he was an object who was constantly abused, physically and emotionally. • He was kept closely within the controlling grips of his mother who was an over zealous believer in God, who felt that abuse and instilling fear into her children would prevent them from going to hell. • Willie’s life began here, and probably would have ended here if it was not for the war going on at the time. • All of the bridges that William has crossed and obstacles he has been faced with in his life has made him the person he is today.
Socks: Control • Socks represented the control that Willie’s mother had over him though the use of physical and mental abuse. • When Willie first moved in with Tom he was afraid to take his socks off for fear that everyone would see the “marks of his sins” (p. 31) his mother left all over his body. • The abuse Willie had endured during the time he grew up with his mother was the only interaction he received from an adult. • This method of control enabled Willie’s mother to keep him submissive, and allow her to maintain her role as the one in charge through the use of fear.
Birthday cake: Family/ Friendship • Willie never had a birthday celebration or even a recognition before moving in with Mr. Tom. • The town took Willie in as family and gave him all sorts of gifts to make him feel more at home. • Mr. Tom cared for Willie and bought him new cloths made especially for him, something that Willie has never experienced. • He was also given a book even though he did not know how to read, he was so grateful and overwhelmed by being treated so good, he commented in disbelief, “Is it fer me to keep?” (108) • This birthday party was the very first time Willie was given any sort of recognition of being a friend, part of a family, and someone who is special and cared for.
Paints: Finding Oneself • Willie received paints for his birthday from Tom, and immediately began to paint. • He had such a natural talent, he had finally found something that he was good at and others saw it in him too. • This ability made Willie feel self conscious at first, he was embarrassed to draw any positive attention to himself but over time, embraced his talent and recognition and was able to be happy with receiving praise for a job well done. • Willie became proud of himself.
Black Berries: Friendship and Growth • Willies first interaction with other children who were his own age was when Zack, George, Carrie, and Willie went berry picking. • This was the first time Willie was able to feel what it was like to be around friends in a healthy type of play. • In his past playing was not allowed with his mother, Willie had no self esteem as well as no friends because of his mothers strict unrealistic views on children. • Interactions with friends was the beginning of Willie realizing his self worth as well as a chance to see how others really viewed him. • His friends cared about him, and he cared about them
Theater Faces: Friendship/Growth • The first play that Willie really gave him the confidence to go out and try new things. This also gave his peers the idea to not to be afraid to act and try new things too. • He was beginning to come out of his shell around his peers.
Nature Trail: Life • The peaceful, tranquil trails found all throughout the town of Weirwold if where Willie was given a second chance at life. • Being brought to this town as an evacuee from London, he was experienced to not only the sights, smells, and sounds of the country, but also a life outside the one he left behind in London with his mother. • Tom became a caregiver, mentor, and father to Willie. They would walk the trails to town, school, and even with Sammy the dog. The trails and untouched ways of the woods allowed Tom to show Willie all that was never be exposed to and probably never be exposed to if he was never sent as an World War II evacuee from London
Ocean Waves: Freedom, Purity • The waves of the ocean represent the turbulence and also freedom William has experienced through living with Tom as an evacuee. • He has been able to wash away all of the bad memories of his past and let go of the feelings of guilt, betrayal, and mistrust. • This also symbolizes one of the last memories William has of Zack, his best friend. • Zack was William’s first real friend in his life, they did everything together and learned and grew from each other. • “It seemed as if his mind had suddenly opened and all his worries, painful memories and fears were flooding to the surface and drifting away” (p. 258)
Bicycle: Death/Grieving • After struggling with the death of his best friend Willie had finally accepted it. • Riding his bike was one of Zack’s favorite things to do. • After Zack’s death Willie had a lot of support from the many people he had met. Many offered helpful advice: “Better to accept than pretend that he never existed” (299) said one of his teachers Mr. Sanderton’s • Willie never learned to ride a bike until Zack died. • Learning how to ride Zack’s bike was a way to move on from the loss. • “No one can take the memories away, and I can talk to him when I want” (305)
Meditation: Growth, Life • At the end of the book William has been able to recognize himself as a son, a friend, and an individual. • The ability of him to do that is shown in his ability to admit that he is growing up and becoming his own self. • The very last sentence of the book stated by Willie to Tom “Dad….I’m growing!” (318)
Credits For Pictures Paints: • http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&hl=en&lr=&q=paints Birthday Cake: • www.dragons1.k12.ar.us/.../birthday%20cake.gif Wool Socks: • www.preciouspenguin.com/socks.jpg Ocean Waves: • www.signedoriginals.co.uk London Bridge: • www.lostworld.pair.com/.../images/london_bridge1.jpg Nature Trail: • www.photography.scottrower.com/.../GSM%20Trail.jpg Black Berries: • www.paghat.com/images/blackberry-aug.jpg Self Esteem: www.lifepositive.com/.../grfx/esteem.jpg Bicycle: • http://latis.ex.ac.uk/cfarchive/copyrightfree0004.htm Theater Faces: • http://www.baldwin-county-schools.com/bhs/wbhs/comptech.htm