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“In the midst of death, we are in life.” Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden, is an adult novel in which the narrator recounts the bravery of seven teenagers, each with personal traits that play an important role in this novel. Set in the small fictional town of Wirawee in Australia, this novel is portrays a teenage girl, Elli Linton, who goes on a weeklong trip with six friends into an isolate bush, known as “Hell”. Upon returning to Wirawee, they are devastated to discover that all form of life has been destroyed; all livestock has been killed, and, to their dismay, all people have disappeared. Eventually, they discover that their town has been invaded by mysterious forces, and the citizens are being held captive. As a result, these seven teenagers are forced to overcome their fears and fight back at all means.
First, John Marsden applies first person point of view. This is to say that Tomorrow When the War Began is written in the form of Ellie’s journal. This perspective not only allows Ellie to be candid about her fears and worries, but also creates spectacles, through which the reader views the events. Marsden does not write about the war, but rather how Ellie responds to it. Since this is her own personal view, she employs emotion, feelings, and attitudes. In chapter 15, Ellie, still despondent from losing her loved ones, confesses “I didn’t know if I was making myself feel bad by trying to make myself feel good, thinking about my parents, but it was my way of keeping them alive and in my thoughts. I was scared of what might happen if I stopped doing that.” (p. ) Had this novel been written from another point of view, this information would have been withheld. However, Marsden includes it because he wants the reader to sympathize with Ellie and her friends. In addition, first person point of view aids with character development. While Ellie narrates her story, the reader observes the growth and character change in her. For instance, when she overcomes her fear, she begins to delegate roles. She says “At that moment, I stopped being an innocent rural teenager and started becoming someone else, a more complicated and capable person. A force to be reckoned with…”(p. ) Ellie undergoes a change of character which a reader would have seldom noticed, if this novel was not written in third person point of view. Thus, by using first person point of view, Marsden compels the reader to sympathize with Ellie and her friends.

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