Tomorrow, When The War Began, the winner of the Australian Multicultural Children’s Book Award, is a novel by John Marsden. In the book, seven teenagers are away from their houses, when their homes are invaded by another country’s army. When they come back to their homes, everything is gone. The book constantly emphasizes how if you can be resilient through bad times, you will grow stronger. Though in the book the ‘bad time’ is war, this affects all ‘bad times’ from something as extreme as war, to something like you getting sick. Some people go through those times well, others cannot. Both of those situations are shown in Tomorrow, When The War Began.
Someone’s personality can change for the better when he is faced with bad times. Homer Yannos, one of the main characters, used to be someone who was in a gang, and was silly and wild and not trusted. Others began to see how his personality was changing, and commented on it. As his friend Ellie says about him, “It was getting hard to remember that this fast-thinking guy, who’d just spent fifteen minutes getting us laughing and talking and feeling good again, wasn’t even trusted to hand out books at school.”(pg 104). He went from someone who went around town graffitiing walls to someone who led, and led well. He is not shocked when faced with a decision he has to make instantly. After one of his best friends is shot, he immediately goes into action. “‘We’ll have to take her into town.’ Homer said. ‘We know the hospital’s still functioning. We’ll have to trust them to look after her. There’s no other choice.’”(pg. 280). He made the decision to give her to invaders because they had medical equipment, even though she would most likely be a prisoner for a while. This decision preserved his friends life for longer than it would have if they had not, proving his ability to act, even lead, under pressure.
Personality isn’t the only thing that can change, as others are faced with their fears when bad times come, and some can overcome those fears. Robyn Mathers is an example of that. She used to be scared of everything, even tiny things like injections. “Mr. Kasser had announced the girls would be having rubella injections. As soon as he’d mentioned the word injections, Robyn had been on the floor, [fainted].”(pg. 129). Now she was going into places with gunfire and firefights, going into danger, and dealing with it. When a friend of hers gets injured, she risks a lot in order to get help. Having one of her friends injured by a bullet, unable to walk, forced her to adapt. She used all her resources available, finding the people she needed to find, and she learned what she needed to learn, even if she was scared of what she had to do to achieve that. She faces her fears bravely, and afterward, she says: “[Mr. Clement] taught me how to give injections… I gave [Lee] two injections today. It was cool fun.”(pg. 134-5). No longer there was her fear of injections. She had not given up when faced with the task of having to heal a bullet wound, and through that she had overcome a fear.
Of course, not everybody can make the best of the bad times that will come to them. Ellie Linton did not. Though she is still alive at this point of the war, she’s paid a price. She is constantly debating every action that she has done in the war with herself. “The thing that scared me most was the thought that maybe all the violent things I’d been doing, with the ride-on mower and the truck, had transformed me in the space of a couple nights into a raging monster.” (pg.161). She let these types of thoughts take over her mind from time to time, and when they did, her emotions would explode. She would also have nightmares that sprung from those thoughts. “I had the nightmares… I felt skulls crush under my feet. Burning bodies stretched out their hands, begging for mercy. I killed everyone, even the people I loved most… I was a devil of death, and there were no angels left in the world, no one to make me feel better or to save me from the harm I was doing.”(pg. 163) She let the bad times consume her, and was came out weaker than she had been before the war.
Tomorrow, When The War Began outlines how bad times can improve you as a person or make you depressed. Even if the story is fiction, the message the author, John Marsden, is trying to send, isn’t. Though the war is the situation in the book, bad times not as extreme as war can happen to anybody. In fact, they happen to nearly everybody. If when you face bad times, you deal with them the best you can and move on, you will have gained something from the experience.
Author : Jeremy K Ginting