Study Guide

Tomorrow, When the War Began Friendship

By John Marsden


"Well, did you con them into it?"

Unfortunately it was Mr. Mathers who answered. […]

I was embarrassed, but laughing too, cos I knew I could twist Mr. Mathers round my pinkie. […]

This was the biggest thing they'd ever trusted her on, so she was keen for it to work out. (1.72-1.88)

Ellie does a really good job of helping Robyn get permission from her parents to come camping with her friends, something she's never been allowed to do before. Robyn's too scared to ask herself, so it's good of Ellie to help.

Homer and I had spent all our free time together when we were little, and we were still close. (1.101)

Some friends are forever friends, which is exactly the case with Homer and Ellie. These two have known each other since early childhood and it seems they'll be sticking together until the bitter end.

"Ellie," Homer said solemnly, "I'll never call you a stupid dumb obstinate slagheap again."

"Thanks Homer."

It was a sweet moment. (3.2)

Well, isn't that nice. Looks like they are close enough for Ellie not to take offense. In fact, these two seem more like siblings (at this point) than anything else.

Corrie and I were probably the most energetic. We took a few walks, back to the bridge, or to different cliffs, so we could have long private conversations. We talked about boys and friends and school and parents, all the usual stuff. (5.2)

Things might be totally abnormal all around them, but Ellie and Corrie still make time to be totally ordinary best friends, going for long walks to talk about their lives.

The Kevin came in from checking the bedrooms, saw her, and moving quickly to her took her in his arms and held her close. They just stood there for quite a few minutes. (7.12)

This shows just how close Kevin and Corrie are: Without exchanging a word, Kevin knows exactly how to comfort Corrie in this moment. Such a good friend.

No! If we're being strictly logical, like Homer was before, we shouldn't all sneak in close to the Showground. One of us should go and the other two stay here. Less chance of being seen, and less loss if one gets caught."

Corrie gave a little cry. "No! That's being too logical! You're my best friends! I don't want to be that logical!" (7.60-61)

All for one and one for all, eh? They do stick together when things are risky, but they also all suffer the consequences.

"I thought you didn't believe in friendship anymore," Kevin said. "Seems a hell of a risk to go to Lee's, if we're so worried about saving ourselves."

Homer looked at him coldly and even Corrie rolled her eyes. (9.37-38)

Wait, wait, wait… Kevin goes a little far saying that Homer doesn't believe in friendship—he just wants to save Lee in safest way possible, that's all. Kevin is just feeling grumpy, we think.

She stopped hiccupping and just sobbed […]. We dried her and hugged her, but it was hours before she calmed enough even to look at us. […] Corrie would not move, and we could not move until she did. (10.95)

Friends take good care of one another, especially during the hardest times. Corrie is lucky to have hers around during her breakdown.

[…] Homer came up beside me to ride two abreast. "Hold my hand Ellie," he said. "Can you ride one-handed?"

[…] But we talked a bit, not about bombs and death and destruction, but about stupid little things. (10.10-11)

Friendship rescues these pals from feeling really terrible. Instead of talking about all the hard stuff they're going through, they slip into the safety of simple friendly conversation.

"Where's Lee?"

"He's been shot," she said, and I felt as though I'd been shot and everything in the world had died. (10.43-44)

It's because of strong friendships and empathy that these kids are brave for each other. Otherwise, Lee probably would have died because Ellie would have been too scared to risk her life to save him.