Study Guide

Tomorrow, When the War Began Tone

By John Marsden


Brutally Honest and Confidential

Ellie calls 'em like she sees 'em when it comes to writing down the story of what she and her friends have been through since the invasion, so even though she's writing a document that all of her friends will eventually see, she doesn't hold back, even when it comes to describing the people she's holed up in Hell with. For example, she lays it on Kevin, saying, "He was known for having a big ego and he liked to take the credit for everything; he annoyed me quite often for that […]" (1.95). Ouch, right? But hey—Ellie takes her documentarian responsibilities very seriously.

Along this line, Ellie's tone verges on confidential; the book reads almost like her own personal journal at times instead of a document she intends to share widely. Importantly, this includes pretty big reveals about herself—she doesn't just bust out honesty about other people, she also holds the mirror up to herself. Here's a prime example for you:

But Fi's saying "sexy" had made me realize that with Homer it was pretty physical. I didn't want to spend hours with him talking about life; I wanted to spend hours with him making animal noises, like sighs and grunts […]. (15.27)

Whoa, Ellie. This is totally something we'd write in a secret diary and hide under our pillows, but Ellie lays it all out there for her friends and anyone else who might read their story. War can get pretty impersonal, but thanks to Ellie's document, there will be at least one very human recounting of what's gone down.