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Goodnight Mister Tom

  • Date Submitted: 11/13/2011 03:33 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 72.7 
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In the novel ‘Good Night Mister Tom’ by Michael Magorian, there are many changes that the characters experience throughout the novel.   Many of the difficulties that Will experiences throughout the novel are a result of his upbringing. Will changes physically and mentally due to Tom’s help and kind consideration of his needs. Tom learns to overcome his past experiences by opening his heart and learning to love again. This is a significant change within Tom as he was previously a self-absorbed grumpy old man who preferred to be alone. Tom and Will help each other change through the love and support of one another and have formed a long lasting friendship.

Will’s childhood was not an easy one, due to the physical abuse and neglect of his mother. Will’s mother beat him often, telling him he was a ‘bad boy’ who deserved to be punished. She was extreme in her religious views and always told Will that he was disobeying God’s words. This physical abuse left Will in a state that was not healthy, ‘The boy was thin and sickly looking with pale and limp sandy hair and dull grey eyes’. Tom helps Will change by nursing him back to normal health. This is made evident when Tom is talking to Mr. Little and says “The sores will heal. They healed before. It’s the wounds inside that last the longest.” This meant that Will would recover physically, but it was not known how long it would take for the wounds inside to recover so that Will could make a significant change. Tom helps with this as he does not believe in physical discipline like Will’s mother, instead he believes in gentle guidance which played a key role in helping Will overcome this emotional scar.

Will’s mother also abused him mentally, filling his head with her views of the world and not allowing him to form his own opinions. This is highlighted when Will meets Sammy, “Willie was more petrified of the dog than he had been of the squirrel. ‘Them poisonous dogs,’ he heard his mother’s voice saying inside him.” This...


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