Study Guide

Tomorrow, When the War Began Foolishness

By John Marsden

Foolishness

First thing we found was a biscuit bag we'd overlooked when packing the food the night before. It was empty. Thanks to us some grateful animal was now a lot fatter. (4.1)

Is this an epic mistake? Nope—but it is foolish. And enough foolishness around food will leave this group super hungry.

Basically we just lay around and ate, in one long pigout. (4.2)

Yeah, this eating up of all the food all at once is pretty foolish of the Hell gang. They're just banking on being able to leave and get food whenever they want to… which they'll come to regret later.

"No! If we're being strictly logical, like Homer was before, we shouldn't all sneak in close to the Showground." […] Corrie gave a little cry. "No! That's being too logical! You're my best friends! I don't want to be that logical!"

Neither did I, when I thought about it. (7.61-62)

Homer has the right idea about not traveling in large groups, but these three foolishly decide to stick together anyway, making a choice that could turn out to be a disaster all in the name of fear and friendship.

It was only then that I realized that while thinking about ambushes I'd actually led Kevin and Corrie into a trap. (7.83)

This mistake could have cost them their lives, but luckily, Ellie is a fast thinker. She is forced through her foolish move to do something she'll regret forever, though: kill the soldiers that follow them.

"[…] Flip's out there, wandering around. They must have seen her from the helicopter."

"That might be enough to make them suspicious." […]

"We've got a lot to learn, assuming we even come out of this." […]

"Let's get cracking," he said. "We've been lucky. We can't afford to make that many mistakes again." (9.62-80)

Here, the group's oversight costs Corrie her home as it gets blown up by a missile, and it nearly costs them their lives, too. Homer is right, though: They need to learn from these mistakes and not repeat them.

My poor driving was at least making it hard for the soldiers—we were an erratic target. […] In the wing mirror on my side I caught one glimpse of a small vehicle […] We smashed into it bloody hard and ran right over the top of it. […] I felt sorry for Lee: I'd forgotten to raise the shovel. (11.9-10)

Whoa—Lee is terribly injured and totally unprotected in the shovel, which Ellie foolishly forgets. They are all lucky that Lee doesn't get thrown out as she does so many dangerous things behind the wheel.

[…] I was confused between my feelings for him and my feelings for Homer. Last night I'd been holding hands with Homer, and feeling so warm and good about it, and now here I was with Lee. I didn't have any plans to become the local slut and I didn't think it was a good idea to get involved with two guys at once. (12.32)

Uh, yeah, about that… When there are only seven of you and nowhere else to go, multiple romantic dalliances probably isn't such a hot idea. The heart can want what it wants, but sometimes the head has to intervene to prevent foolish behavior from messing everything up.

Chris was getting on all too well. He was asleep, and I was furious. […] it was unforgiveable for Chris to have gone to sleep. He'd risked the lives of all of us by being so slack. (12.34)

Do you this reveals the kind of character Chris is? Whether it does or not, he botches the first job he gets, which is a pretty foolish move.

"I'd hate to spoil that by us two suddenly having a falling out and deciding we didn't want to see each other, or we were embarrassed to be together. That'd be awful. […]

"Oh, Ellie," Lee said. "Why do you have to reason everything through all the time? The future is the future […]." (15.60-61)

For once, Ellie is not being foolish; Lee is. She's just trying to think through how she feels and what kind of dynamic she wants at camp. After all, she and Lee comprise practically one-third of their group members—getting along is pretty important.

Chris had brought back a few packets of smokes and two bottles of port that he'd "souvenired", as he called it. […] I couldn't help wondering how far we could go with this "souveniring" idea. […] If we were going to ignore the laws of the land, we had to work out our own standards instead. (17.3)

Do you think Ellie's right in her assessment that it's foolish for folks to just start doing things without thinking about consequences, both short and long term?