Ellie Linton is the narrator and protagonist of the well known novel, Tomorrow When the War Began. The beginning of the book shows Ellie being asked to write a book, or diary of the journey, outlining their adventures so far. The reader is able to identify that the entry is focused mostly on Ellie’s experiences, Marsden choosing to write from the perspective of a female. Her feelings and thought are what drives the story and the story may have changed entirely if it was written from a different perspective.
Ellie’s character is built up slowly from the start. The reader soon realises that Ellie seems to be a natural leader, as she seems to have organised many key events in the book and begins to be making many of the decisions alongside Homer. Her character is carefully constructed to show caution and common sense and a strong intuition about doing the right thing.
She is very observant as she recognises some vital clues at the beginning of the book which helps the teenagers to realise that something is wrong. Ellie’s strongest relationship seems to be with Homer, having a brotherly relationship with him at the start but becoming confusingly romantic towards the middle of the book. She seems to be in quite a tangle between Homer and Lee throughout the 2nd half of the book.
Ellie plays a major role in representing the major themes of the book – ‘Love’ and ‘Relationships’. Love is shown by Ellie through her undecided love between Lee and Homer. When Fi falls in love with Homer, Ellie realises that Homer has just been a brother who she doesn’t want to lose and she soon realises that her true love is with Lee. Ellie’s dilemma shows how females can often mistake friendship for love, as well as show the reader that love is possible – even in war situations.
Another concept that Ellie represents is ‘misunderstandings’, those opinions we can hold through ignorance and judging others before we know their circumstances. Ellie reveals peoples’ misunderstandings as she is the first to discover the presence of the Hermit’s hut. Her description of the scenery around the hut with the roses, showing the Hermit’s love for his wife and child and how everything seems so calm and beautiful shows that the Hermit was never an evil and scary man like everyone had described him throughout Wirrawee. He is just an innocent man who has check-out of society and Ellie is the first to describe and allow not only herself but the reader to identify this.
‘Leadership’ is another quality shown through the character of Ellie. Ellie doesn’t seem to be the physically strongest leader but she is shown as a girl who is prepared to rise to the challenge. ‘Courage’ is another quality explored through Ellie. In the book, when she talks about stepping out of the dark, it almost shows how her courage has broadened and she is ready to fight for her family and the live of many other helpless victims. She changes through her journey, emerging into a courageous leader who must face her fears and take action against the enemy that has shattered her former life. She can no longer be the person she was.
One of the most significant turning points for Ellie (changing her life forever) is where Ellie Kevin and Corrie were spotted by the soldiers and they were forced to blow up the mower. Ellie is forced to take the lives of unknown soldiers and must live with the consequences of this action forever. Here Ellie says, “I had to show a type of courage I've never had to show before" pg 63.
Ellie is a survivor and a natural leader. The fact the Ellie was prepared to lead an act of sabotage at the very end of the book, where she could have been killed shows her ability to survive and fight, as well as her capacity to lead others beyond what they could only imagine. She is able to take action and rise to the occasion, given adversity and extreme danger. She is willing to help blow up the invader’s main route of transport and take all the risks needed to help put the teenagers at an advantage and possibly enable the rescue of hostages.
Ellie is one of the main characters of the book and through her character, Marsden explores many of the significant themes of the book. She enables Marsden to present a balanced account of this hypothetical scenario, from both a female and male perspective. Ellie also seems to have the most problems throughout the book and it is only when she solves them, does the reader realise that an important point is being made. Her role as a protagonist is important. She is there symbolically to show the need for the female perspective, to compliment the male leader (represented in Homer) and to find a solution to conflict. This scenario can be considered in relation to global problems – if there were more females working collaboratively with males to solve problems and overcome evil, would there be a reduction in the amount of war and conflict?
Writeen by Saara Amjadeen
Fiona is your stereotypical upper-class family in society. She is posh, graceful and classy but isn't unkind or snobby. She is classified as an upper-class because both her parents are practicing as solicitors. She isn’t used to being in an unclean environment, nor being in situations where she has to work, clean or camp. She has no background knowledge what so ever on war, camping, bushes or the situation she is put in. Fi is beautiful; with pale skin and a small body. She is one many look up to as a role model, like Ellie, to whom Fi seems 'perfect'. Fi prefers taking other peoples orders and directions, rather than being a role model and taking the lead. She seems like your stereo-typical perfect, shy girl that sits back and watches others do her work.
But she's not.
At the start of the book, Fi is not very brave, not capable of being in a bush or war zone and is someone that is scared to take lead or fend for them. She drifts into the background whilst others are fighting and is often scared or frightened. In the middle of the war, she decides to fight. She decides to fend for herself, her friends and her family despite her fears. Some may think Fi is t
the weakest of the bunch, whereas others say she is one of the strongest. She put aside her fears for her friends and family, and even put's them before herself at one point, not willing to let them down. She grows into a girl of courage and commitment that Homer soon falls for. She brings out Homers affectionate side and changes the way he views things.
Fi grows into a completely different person, inside and out.
Written by Brad Riley
Full name: Homer Yannos
At the start of Tomorrow When The War Began Homer is known as the rebel, childish prankster that doesn’t really care. Although throughout the book we see him transform into a leader, a friend and a person you want to be around.
Homer is one of the main characters in Tomorrow When The War Began. Homer had built a reputation for himself. The reputation was being a tough real macho kind of guy. During the start of the book Homer could have been described as a slob, loudmouth and immature. He only starting coming out when he was faced with danger. As soon as his country was at war he had to stop hiding from a shell and start being the leader, the motivator and the person that would take charge. Homer had transformed from being that childish immature person to a caring leader. This quote shows this “Homer was becoming more surprising with every passing hour. 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 the books at school” pg 104.
Another change was seen he had told Ellie he had a crush on the beautiful and rich Fi. Due to his nature homer was not quite sure how to treat Fi but somehow managed to start a relationship. There are many sides of homer you get to see in tomorrow when the war began. His soft side when he confesses to Ellie about his feelings towards Fi and, His leadership side which is shown throughout the book at many occasions including the decision to blow up the bridge.
Some main quotes from tomorrow when the war began including homer are
[Homer]"'Problem two then. Where would we get it?'
Robyn interrupted. I'd forgotten she hadn't seen Homer in action at Corrie's.
' Homer, are you on something?'
‘You keep going like this, you'll lose your reputation, aren’t you meant to be just a wild and crazy guy?'
He laughed, but then went straight back to being serious. Robyn made a face at me and I winked back" pg138
"Homer looked at me, eyes shining with joy. I realised the wild and crazy guy wasn't so far away. 'We pick him up in the shovel,' he said, and waited for our reactions." Pg 140
By Simon Dass
Corrie is Ellie's very best mate, her mate, whom he had completed everything with since he was a child and who he designs on doing everything with when they leave school. The two have grown up together with a sisterly-type bond that would have lasted for years. Corrie is an organised type, likes to keep things in order. She can be described as tomboyish, working on a farm & participating in camping journeys, hikes & other outside activities. Corrie is a plump faced redhead girl, very close to Ellie's age, who used to severely lacked in confidence. He had advanced in leaps and bounds since Kevin had become her boyfriend.
Corrie and Ellie talk a lot and whenever Ellie has an issue he will turn to Corrie for support. While on their camping trip in to Hell they discuss the future and plan to travel abroad together after school.
Corrie's determination also ought to not be under-estimated. When battling to discover a way in to Hell, Corrie had been one of the leaders. Corrie is anything but a wimp, she is clever & rapid thinking. However, the war affects her greatly. But in the finish, Corrie does not let her fear cease her. He is driven by concern for her relatives.
All those years of growing, of being cared for & nurtured Struck by a random bullet to die a slow & needless death.
Written by Preeti Gaur
Kevin Holmes is a boy from Wirawee with a cocky; aggressive attitude and a wide mouth. Throughout the book we learn that along with that, he is also a big talker with a big ego, he is also a try hard. Kevin normally backs down when in the face of danger. In the book his many arguments about war and fighting back exposes his attitude about finding alternative solutions. Kevin was one of the people who were a little worried for fighting back but he eventually chooses to fight back and wants revenge.
Kevin isn’t very athletic and it shocks people that he is afraid of insects. People normally judge his big size and think that he’s very strong and hardly scared of anything, but we realize that under his cocky mask he’s actually not like that at all and is just a normal boy; Kevin doesn’t like this and behaves that he is the best at everything. Kevin also at times annoys people with his disrespect for them and their opinions.
Despite his attitude, Kevin is a big part of the book’s messages and themes as he shows slight signs of maturity when he helps Ellie blow up the mower. He also represents courage, love and sacrifice at the end of the book when he risks his own life to save Corrie and takes her to the hospital. This act tells us that under extreme circumstances, people can be affected greatly and sometimes discover the potential and courage they hold.
Kevin was selfish and unprepared, therefore it was almost impossible to win over evil. John Marsden made his point clear; one must be fighting for their country with a clear purpose that does not include greed or personal conflict, to fight evil one must forget selfishness.
Robyn. One of the seven teenagers with a will, a will to survive. To live and even thrive in an unimaginable environment, to fight, give up everything that once seemed so important including life itself. As you can imagine they would have to change a vast amount to accommodate these new feelings, thoughts and circumstances. Like all the characters in ‘Tomorrow’ Robyn underwent a massive personality transformation. A transformation that may have seemed impossible had this situation not come up.
In chapter one it describes Robyn as a good, nice and serious girl. She would get certificates at school every year, was heavily into her religion stuff and was just as heavily into to sport. Her parents were extremely overprotective even thought as Ellie puts it, if parents ever had a daughter they could trust it would be the Mathers and Robyn but somehow they hadn’t worked it out. She was competitive, determined and loved to win, this was evident through sport. Ellie says that when she played sport with Robyn , if they had a weak umpire, Robyn could do more damage than an aerial gunship however as soon as the game finished she was herself again shaking hands and complimenting people. She is small and ‘nuggety’ in appearance but still somehow manages to have such grace and skimmed across the ground where others would trudge.
As shown in chapter one (page thirteen) that was the ‘old’ her. The pre-war Robyn. Now to demonstrate the leader in Robyn.
In chapter six it depicts Robyn as a new, smart and courageous leader. Ellie and her, due to all the stress, explode then moments later are hysterically laughing. They apologise and Robyn goes on planning what they should do. She says “ Look everyone, I didn’t want to say much. Just that we’ve got to be careful. If we go rushing around the countryside, to seven different houses, well, it mightn’t be such bright thing to do, that’s all. We should decide some things, like whether to stick together, or break into small groups, like Kevin and corrie want to do. Whether we should use vehicles. Whether we should go any further in daylight. It’s almost dark now. For a start I suggest no one goes on from here until it is dark, and that when they do go they don’t use lights.” Her plan ultimately saves their lives. She even adds in all the little, but important aspects such as what time and what vehicles to use. She starts it all off.
Her leadership is defiantly also demonstrated in chapter 17 (page two hundred and twenty one) where Ellie says: “Robyn did most of the talking. She'd already been their unofficial leader when they left, and it was interesting to see how much she was running the show now."
As shown in chapter six (page sixty four and five) and chapter seventeen ( page two hundred and twenty one) she certainly possesses leadership skills. However is she a warrior?
Chapter 10 ( page one hundred and thirty three) Robyn describes – very quickly- over what happen that night. She picked up a photocopier and threw it through a door, heaved lee – who was shot- onto her back and carried him through the shattered door, kicking bits of glass as she went. She is a fit and strong girl however Ellie likened it to one of those stories when mothers lift cars to get kids out from underneath yet if you ask them to do it again they cant because the urgency isn’t there. Robyn had a different explanation, Ellie thought that was because she was religious. After that she carried Lee along five building s to get to the restaurant, she dropped him onto the loading dock and pulled up the roller door and dragged him into the darkness. After that she cut lee’s trousers off, stopped the bleeding with a pressure bandage, wrapped him up warmly then went out into the city to get Mr. Clement whom she made treat Lee. Then after that she gives him two injections. This is a bug deal because she used to faint at the mention of injections. She also knew how to take out the stitches which the ‘old’ Robyn would never be able to do.
Robyn was always a good person but the way she has grown is incredible. She undergoes a huge change all in a short amount of time. She thinks of a smart plan that they end up following, saves her friends Lee and learns to give injections. These three things are important to her because most of those things she would have never been able to- let alone think of- doing.
To conclude Robyn is probably one of the noblest characters. She is involved but isn’t guilty, she is a leader but isn’t conceited, courageous but still scared, Robyn is good even while living bad. Robyn Mathers is amazing.
Written by Emily Stambanis
The character of Lee is very quiet. He is not particularly loud and he doesn’t really make himself heard until later on in the book. Although he mostly keeps to himself, he has a lot more to him that most people don’t know because they don’t really know him. He is more sensitive than the other guys, which some people would tease him for, but which is a quality others would admire. He might not be brawny but he is smart and he isn’t as obnoxious or cocky as the other guys.
Lee doesn’t really hang out with the others at the start. Corrie, Ellie's best friend, is puzzled when Ellie decides to invite him. He is very serious most of the time and is extremely into his music. Ellie has decided to invite him along because she finds him interesting. At the start of the journey, Lee and Ellie seem to have a connection, and they start talking about things that I think most of the others wouldn’t be interested in. Throughout all the hardships that they face, Lee and Ellie seem to grow closer and closer to each other.
Towards the end of the book, their relationship develops, and Lee comes out of his shell more. He’s not as quiet or resigned as he was earlier. I think Lee’s injury makes him more vulnerable in his own eyes, I think because he doesn’t feel like he measures up with the other guys. Because he has always been more interested in books and music etc. And he never really got into the outdoor type things. I think this is another thing he might be slightly ashamed about, because now that he is with Ellie, he might think he needs to change to make her happy, maybe become more manly, like Homer or Kevin.
Significant Lee moments-
When Lee gets shot, he has to rely on the Robyn to help him. This shows that he can’t be macho and pretend to be ok and he needs to let Robyn get him to safety. Men often don’t like Females showing that they can do things they can’t.
When Lee thanks Ellie for getting him after he was shot, they have a slight bonding moment. It seems that’s the time when they start to give into their strange feelings for each other, and it’s just before the time where Ellie starts liking Homer.
Lee, Ellie, Robyn and Homer are sleeping in a haystack while Chris is on sentry duty. Lee meets Ellie’s eyes when she wakes, and they start hugging and kissing each other and Ellie and Lee talk quite intimately. This shows that Lee is able to talk about his feelings so openly and it shows he is different from the other guys.
Lee gets slightly annoyed with Ellie when they get back to Hell because I think he was expecting them to get together after the haystack incident. He doesn’t like it that Ellie is still deciding if she wants to be with him. I think that he believes that she should want to be with him and not be clouded by uncertainty. Because Men are often wired differently from Women, Men sometimes don't understand a Woman's feelings.
After they visit the Hermit’s Hut, Lee and Ellie kiss several times very passionately, and I think that Lee is finally ‘satisfied’ with Ellie because she has finally chosen to be with him fully.
Written by Pavan Shet
John Marsden was born on the 27th of September, 1950. He is a best selling Australian Author, most famous for writing the “Tomorrow series.”
John Marsden spent most of his time in rural Australia, moving first to Kyneton in Victoria, then to Devonport in Tasmania. At the age of ten his family moved to Sydney and he enrolled at The King’s High School, in Parramatta. After finishing high-school, he began a Law/Arts degree at the University of Sydney, and worked as a security guard, before finally becoming an English Teacher.
He taught for nine years at Geelong Grammar School, and became Head of English at the school’s Timbertop campus.
His parents are Keith Jonathan Marsden and Ian Richard Marsden. John Marsden’s grand-parents are David Marsden and Charlotte Marsden. His great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandparents are John Marsden and Betty Morton, who were both born around the eighteenth centaury (1700’s), and died at around 1750.
His first book, So Much To Tell You, was published in 1987. His most famous piece, The Tomorrow series, is seen as the most popular book series for young adults ever written by an Australian author. In Australia alone, John has sold over two and a half million copies of the books.
Marsden has also been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest children’s and youth literature award and the second largest literature prize in the world. The winner was announced in March 2008, and sadly, John Marsden did not win, but the prize went to another Australian author Sonya Hartnett. However, his nomination, in such a prestige award shows just how brilliant his writing is.
In 1982, he was arrested while attempting to stop the construction of the Franklin Dam. John Marsden was placed in the Risdon Prison for a night. He later used the experience to help him write some scenes in Letters From The Inside, and for parts of the Tomorrow series.
So Much To Tell You (1987)
The Great Gatenby
Staying Alive In Year 5
Out Of Time (1990)
Letters From The Inside (1991)
Take My Word For It (1992)
Looking For Trouble (1993)
Cool School (1996)
Creep Street (1996)
Dear Miffy (1997)
Norton's Hut (1998)
A Roomful of Magic
Home and Away
Everything I Know About Writing (1993)
This I Believe (1996) (editor)
For Weddings and a Funeral (1996) (editor)
Secret Men's Business (1998)
The Head Book
The Boy You Brought Home
THE TOMORROW SERIES
Tomorrow, When the War Began (1994)
The Dead Of The Night (1994)
The Third Day, The Frost (1995)
Darkness, Be My Friend (1996)
Burning For Revenge' (1997)
The Night Is For Hunting (1998)
The Other Side Of Dawn (1999)
THE ELLIE CHRONICLES
While I Live (2003)
Circle of Flight (2006)
By Pavan Shet