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Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden, Personal Response

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    Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden. Tomorrow when the war began by John Marsden is an exceptional novel filled with action, suspense and tension. The author tells the story of seven stereotypical examples of teenagers heading up into the hills to camp for a while when they suddenly find themselves drawn into the extreme stress of a war as they are left to fend for themselves. It is an inspiring tale of how they all responded to the war in different ways, took risks and grew from ordinary teenagers.

    All seven teenagers transform from normal youths to brave, courageous and strong young adults as they deal with the loss of loved ones and extreme fear. But out of all seven I found Homer’s character developed the most. Before the war he started off as a typical teenage boy. He loved to play pranks and stir up trouble on other students at school. He didn’t care about his grades or anybody’s feelings. It seemed he didn’t have a care in the world. I think he took his life for granted as he had lots of family and friends all running after him and I think he didn’t realise how fortunate he was.

    I also think that part of this was not his fault. I think he knew no different and didn’t know what it was like to have no family or friends. As Homer and his friends get back from their camp and realise all their family have been taken and they all have to deal with the stress, I thought Homer’s character developed the most. He kept his head up and became a serious leader of the group. I think Homer was just as stressed as everyone else, but I think he decided if they were going to survive, they had to stick together and so he began to value what he was left with in his life.

    He was the one who remained strong and tried to comfort others. He came up with plans to gather food and keep everyone safe. He risked his own life by sneaking around the camp which the town was kept captive in so he could get word that everyone’s family was okay. I found this amazing, his actions really proved that he valued his new life. “We’ve got to stick together, that’s all I know. We will drive each other crazy but I don’t want to end up here alone. ” Homer says this to the rest of the group to keep them together and to motivate them to keep going.

    I think Homer knew he had taken his previous life for granted and realised the importance of valuing his new life. I believe Homer’s character changed the most. I think he was like a completely new person with so many values. Homer’s character reminded me with connections to my own life, like the Christchurch earthquakes. The disaster bought out the best in so many people as they all helped each other even when they were all under stress. That’s what I think happened to Homer, the disaster in the novel really bought out the best in him.

    Another interesting character in the novel was the main character Ellie. I found her interesting as she developed close relationships with people she never thought she would. Early on in the book when the group of friends find out their families have been captivated Ellie is one of the people who breaks down the most. She really struggles with the news and often feels scared and uncertain of her actions. She tries to hide these actions, of what she thinks is, moments of weaknesses from her friends.

    As the book continues Ellie suddenly feels herself drawn towards Homer. This seems ironic as previously Ellie had felt she would never like him that much as he seemed so insensitive and careless and far from boyfriends material. “If anyone had said to me then that I’d end up liking him, well, I’d have paid their taxi fare to the psychiatrist. He was so immature”. But I think Ellie fell for Homer because during the crisis he was so strong and Ellie clung to him as a way of getting through the disaster.

    I also think she felt safe and secure with him and like nothing could harm her. I can understand why Ellie felt this way about Homer as the stronger, mature and more confident people are always more attractive than the immature and weak people. You always feel secure and trusting of the strong ones. After reading this novel, it made me think about how important our family and friends are, especially when going through a disaster. I think the novel reflected the importance of valuing our lives and really being there for our loved ones.

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