Good Night, Mr. Tom Literary Elements

Good Night, Mr. Tom Literary Elements


Children's Fiction

Setting and Context

England during World War Two, during the time of Luftwaffe bombing raids in London

Narrator and Point of View

Third person narrator, Willie's point of view

Tone and Mood

Foreboding with the threat of war, also carefree for Willie and his friends who are enjoying growing up in the countryside

Protagonist and Antagonist

Willie Beech

Major Conflict

Conflict between Mister Tom and the authorities wanting to take Willie back to London and place him in a children's home
Also conflict underpins the book in the form of Workd War Two


Mister Tom finds Willie abandoned and abused tied to a copper pipe near death


His mother's tone and reactions to what he is saying foreshadow her abuse of Willie when he is home again


Tom tells Zach that he is wearing an "unusual jersey" which is a huge understatement as the jersey is wildly colored and reminiscent of Joseph's technicolor dreamcoat


When Zach is stuck in quicksand under the Anderson shelter he says he is having a Buster Keaton moment alluding to the silent movie star often stuck in mud in his comedies


The early-morning air was clear and crisp and all the fields and hedgerows were covered with a layer of sparkling dew. The sun filtered through the trees so that Will and Zach were constantly moving into patches of gloom and out into sudden patches of sunlight.
This image not only adds to the theme of the beauty in the countryside compared to the bombed out city but also mirrors the way in which Willie has alternated between gloom and light in getting away from his mother and being adopted by Tom


As Little Weirwold returns to normalcy after frantic preparations for war, the war impacted the world at large in increasingly escalating ways


There is a parallel between Willie and Geoffrey as both have lost their closest friend in the war and are struggling to come to terms with it

Metonymy and Synecdoche

The village viewed Willie with fascination meaning all the individual people in the village rather than the place itself


The twins comment that the treeslook like they have decided to wave their arms giving them mammalian attributes and decision making powers

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