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Written by Jody Perry
Irony of Waking Up Dead
Charlie Ruddles, the Air Raid Warden, is always reminding people about carrying their gas masks to the point where it is actually almost harassment. He scolds Tom and Willie, telling them that one day they will wake up and find they have been gassed to death. This is ironic because it is completely impossible to wake up dead.
Irony of Tom Helping William
On the face of it Tom is helping Willie not only by opening his home to him but also by creating a loving childhood atmosphere that he has lacked until now. Tom gives him confidence, encourages him to make friends and gets him involved with activities in the community. Ironically, Willie is doing all of those things for Tom, giving him the confidence to re-involve himself with the community, and to reacquaint himself with the man he used to be before grief over the death of his wife changed him and made him withdraw from connecting with people.
Irony of William's Mother's View of Evil
William's mother is a "Bible thumper" who believes that anything from enjoying oneself to showing a talent for anything in inherently evil and "in-Christian" which is ironic because the most evil acts in the novel are hers, and she is the only character who does not show any kindness, love or humanity towards others.
Irony of William's Mother's Suicide
Usually a parent taking their own life would be a tragedy for their young child but Willie's mother's suicide is actually a blessing for him as he is free from the threat of her abuse and also free to be adopted by Tom. It is by her suicide that Willie is able to finally stop being terrified of her coming back.
Irony of the Dangers of London
Children are evacuated from London because of the perceived danger coming from outside forces in the form of the German Luftwaffe who are carrying out bombing raids. Ironically the greatest threat to Willie's safety in London does not come from the Nazi Air Force but from the insane and abusive behavior of his own mother.
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Zach represents all of the things William wishes to be. He truly admires his zest for life and appreciates his friendship. William cherishes Zach's ability to live life large and is devastated when he dies.