Good Night, Mr. Tom
By 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.
Collage: Growth in Willie through
his life Experiences
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
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Good Night, Mr. Tom