Private Peaceful


Michael Morpurgo

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Anna is a teenage girl whom Tommo meets in France. Anna’s father owns the estaminet (a small pub) near the soldiers’ camp, and Anna and Tommo take an instant liking to each other when he visits. She smiles at him when she brings his food, and eventually Tommo plucks up the courage to speak to her. Upon his next visit, however, he learns that Anna has been killed by a stray explosion while gathering eggs. Tommo goes to visit her grave and kisses the earth where she is buried. He finds that as a result partly of Anna’s death, he can no longer believe in heaven. Her death seems too arbitrary and too cruel to suggest the existence of any god. Instead, he feels that all that is left of Anna is buried in the “cold earth” beneath his feet.

Anna Quotes in Private Peaceful

The Private Peaceful quotes below are all either spoken by Anna or refer to Anna. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Injustice of War Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Private Peaceful published in 2003.
Chapter 11 Quotes

I looked up at the church steeple, a dark arrow pointing at the moon and beyond, and tried with all my heart and mind to believe she was up there somewhere in that vast expanse of infinity, up there in Sunday-school Heaven, in Big Joe’s happy Heaven. I couldn’t bring myself to think it. I knew she was lying in the cold earth at my feet. I knelt down and kissed the earth, then left her there.

Related Characters: Thomas “Tommo” Peaceful (speaker), Big Joe Peaceful , Anna
Related Symbols: Church Towers
Page Number: 171-172
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Private Peaceful LitChart as a printable PDF.
Private Peaceful PDF

Anna Character Timeline in Private Peaceful

The timeline below shows where the character Anna appears in Private Peaceful. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: Twenty-Five Past Three
Courage Theme Icon
Two weeks later, Tommo returns and does exactly that. The girl’s name is Anna, and they talk for a while. Tommo tells her he worked on a farm at... (full context)
Chapter 11: Nearly Four O’Clock
The Injustice of War Theme Icon
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...back up into line, so they head to the estaminet again. Tommo hopes to see Anna, but can’t find her anywhere, so he goes to her house. When the door opens,... (full context)
The Injustice of War Theme Icon
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Tommo goes to visit Anna’s grave. He wants to believe that she is in heaven, which he calls “Sunday-school Heaven”... (full context)