Special Sub-Topic: Goodnight Mr Tom
|This novel is set in one of the bloodiest moments in our history, yet shows how the worst of times can bring out the best in people. When is it set? |
WW2. It is set in a small village in country England, away from the hustle and bustle but not far enough from the horrors and heartache that war can bring.
|This story focuses on a young boy who is evacuated from his home in London to the small country town of Little Weirwold. What is his name?|
William Beech. William arrives in Little Weirwold scared and unsure, with many painful secrets yet to be explored, completely unaware of what a amazing turn of fortune his life is about to take. During WW2 many children were evacuated from their homes in London to the country for their own safety. They were fostered out to country families; not all were treated very well and there were many problems with runaways. No doubt many were homesick and scared.
|Thomas Oakley was the man who was asked to take young William in. He wasn't given much of a choice, but briskly told that everybody had to do their bit for the war effort. Thomas was haunted by his past and pretty much lived like a hermit. What tragedy befell him to cause him to withdraw from society?|
The death of his wife and newborn son. Thomas Oakley and his young wife Rachel were newly married and happily awaiting the arrival of their first child. Rachel died in childbirth and Thomas' newborn son died not long after. At the time that William comes into his life he has been alone forty years, never getting over his loss. When William first walked through his door Thomas was horrified; little did he know how much they needed each other.
|We soon find out that William, or Willie as he is known, hasn't had your average upbringing. What happened to him?|
He has been severely abused. It is later revealed that William's mother is mentally unwell. She has made him terrified of the world and everything in it, convinced him that he is full of sin and must be punished.
|Why won't William sleep in a bed?|
His mother told him beds are for dead people. Tom soon finds William sleeping under the bed. There is a small graveyard near Tom's home and William woke during the night thinking he must be dead because he was in a bed. Looking out the window and seeing the gravestones was his worst nightmare.
|William has experienced so much horror but during his time in Little Weirwold he begins ever so slowly to find that the world isn't the place he has been taught to fear. For the first time in his life he makes friends, one particularly special one. What is his name?|
Zacharias. Zacharias Wrench is another evacuee. He is outgoing, confident and cheeky. He is fostered to the local doctor and his wife, his parents entertainers. He and William are complete opposites but their friendship couldn't be stronger.
|When William arrived in Little Weirwold he was unable to read and write, even though he was eight. He thrives in school and with the help of his devoted Mr Tom it is discovered he has a bright mind and he catches up quickly. During this time it is also discovered that William has a remarkable talent. What is it?|
He is a gifted artist. After seeing one of Williams amazing drawing's Tom makes the painful decision to part with some of his beloved Rachel's belongings; she was also a gifted artists and he gives William her paints and brushes as a gift. William is awestruck as being given a gift is something he hadn't experienced till he came to Little Weirwold.
|We are treated to how William changes from a frightened, abused little boy into a happy, curious, thoughtful child but his world is soon shattered again. He is called home by his mother, who doesn't recognise her changed, talkative happy child. What finally triggers her last abusive rage?|
She finds out that Zach is Jewish. Mrs Beech does think that William is lying about his letters and drawings, she is also not pleased to find that some of William's friends are girls, but finding out that Zach is Jewish sends her into a frenzied rage.
|Tom comes to London in search of William. Where does he find him?|
Under a staircase. William is found near death under the staircase at his London home; he is nursing his infant sister. He had only found out about her when he came home.
|Tom's love for William is a new and unexpected feeling. This gruff old man is forced to take himself back out into the world to be the best he can be for William, but the doctors say that Tom has no rights when it comes to William's future. What does he do?|
Kidnaps William and takes him home to Little Weirwold. These questions only skim the surface of this wonderful book. There are so many other characters, so many things that William gets to experience for the first time good and bad. The journey that William and Tom go on is one that I still enjoy sitting down to read, and it still makes me cry and laugh. I have given away enough of the story, hopefully you might go and discover the rest!
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