In Michelle Magorians cute and heart warming novel “ Goodnight Mister Tom” the protagonist Willie experiences dramatic changes and exciting if not terrifying events throughout the course of the story. He discovers warmth and kindness unlike anything he has ever known. This love mainly comes from his adopted father Mister Tom and his friend Zach. Willie is overwhelmed at the diversity from his life in London. After being with them he becomes happier, healthier and learns to trust and feel secure in his new home, knowing that Mister Tom and his friends will always be there with him.
Willie experiences warmth and kindness right from when he arrives at Mister Tom’s house in Little Weirwold. When he meets Mister Tom he appears thinly clad, underfed and covered with painful bruises. He seems a quiet and timid creature living in a chasm of fear, believing he is full of sin. When he is first at Mister Tom’s Willie is desperate to behave well, terrified of beatings and punishment he thinks he will receive because of his ‘wickedness’. “‘I must be good,’ he whispered urgently. ‘I must be good. ’ ”.
Having seen Willies bruises and realising he came from an abusive home Mister Tom puts in great effort to give him a happy, healthy life. He acquires warm comfortable clothing for Willie, unlike his current threadbare garments and gives him nourishing food, such as specially cooked breakfasts and tea. He provides Willie with books and reads to him each night much to Willie’s enjoyment. Willie is disappointed to not be in the same class as his friends because he cannot read and write, he is humiliated by this, but Mister Tom helps him to learn and he improves and progresses greatly.
Someone else who introduces Willie to love and friendship is Zach. In “Goodnight Mister Tom” Zach is the outgoing, flamboyant character. Upon their meeting Zach declares himself to be Willie’s friend. The two start to spend more and more time together. Zach provides Willie with fun and support. He makes jokes which amuse Willie greatly and encourages him to do things like develop his artistic talent. Because of Mr Tom’s and Zach’s kindness Willie begins to trust Mister Tom, his friends and the world around him.
One way this begins is when Mister Tom goes to the local doctor as he is concerned about Willies health- he is frequently vomiting and bedwetting, suffering from malnutrition. While he is overcoming this Willie is quite embarrassed, but Mister Tom is merely patient with him, changing his bedding without a complaint. Willie is quiet about all of this, but is very surprised at Mister Tom’s generosity.
He begins to ask more questions, (something his mother would have disapproved of) such as “Will you help me? and to talk more to people especially Mister Tom. Willie becomes less scared and shy, and is warming towards Mister Tom. “Willie gave him an awkward smile. ” Another example is when Willie encounters Zach. At first Willie is reluctant and afraid to speak to him. But when Zach is good to him Willie finds the courage to start to talk to him more and more and he begins to blend some of Zach’s traits into his own.
Willie soon meets more children and is able to form a small circle of friendship with them. … with the knowledge that he, Willie Beech had survived a whole day with four other people of his own age” Willies new life in Little Weirwold is diverse from his experiences in London. In London Willies life is miserable. He is a child who is physically and emotionally abused by his violent and religious mother. His behaviour at the start of the novel is a result of his upbringing by his mother who inflicts him with severe punishments using excuses such as “If you do such a thing you will go to hell”.
Willie has never really known friends before and is astonished when Zach declares he wants to be Willie’s. “No one had ever said that they liked him. ” At school he is overwhelmed by the fact that the teachers and children support and care for him. The teachers from his school in London showed no interest in helping or liking him. “No but my teacher didn’t like me much” Throughout the novel Willie develops a greater character because of the events he experiences and the people he meets.
Courtney from Study Moose
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