Private Peaceful

by

Michael Morpurgo

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Tommo’s Mother / Mrs. Peaceful Character Analysis

Mrs. Peaceful is Tommo, Charlie, and Big Joe’s mother and Mr. Peaceful’s widow. She is a kind, loyal, and courageous woman who sets an excellent example to her family, and all of her children look up to her. She is not afraid to stand up to people if she feels they have wronged her children. Grandma Wolf, for instance, is terribly cruel to Big Joe, and Mrs. Peaceful has “blazing arguments” with her as a result. She also stands up for Charlie and Tommo against the Colonel. She is always true to her word, on one occasion promising the boys that she won’t let the Colonel beat them for poaching on his land, and indeed, somehow managing to dissuade the Colonel from his punishment. Her kindness is demonstrated when she later welcomes Molly into the Peaceful family after Molly’s mother and Molly’s father kick her out of the house upon learning that Charlie got her pregnant.

Tommo’s Mother / Mrs. Peaceful Quotes in Private Peaceful

The Private Peaceful quotes below are all either spoken by Tommo’s Mother / Mrs. Peaceful or refer to Tommo’s Mother / Mrs. Peaceful. 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 1 Quotes

A swallow swoops over our heads all through the prayers, all through the hymns, flitting from window to window, from the belfry to the altar, looking for some way out. And I know for certain it is Father trying to escape. I know it because he told us more than once that in his next life he’d like to be a bird, so he could fly free wherever he wanted.

Related Symbols: Birds
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

It is the moment. I have to do it now. It is my last chance. I tell him about how Father had died, about how it had happened, what I had done, how I should have told him years ago, but had never dared to. He smiles. “I always knew that, Tommo. So did Mother. You’d talk in your sleep. Always having nightmares, always keeping me awake about it, you were. All nonsense. Not your fault. It was the tree that killed Father, Tommo, not you.”

Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Private Peaceful LitChart as a printable PDF.
Private Peaceful PDF

Tommo’s Mother / Mrs. Peaceful Character Timeline in Private Peaceful

The timeline below shows where the character Tommo’s Mother / Mrs. Peaceful appears in Private Peaceful. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Five Past Ten
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
...than him and Charlie. Instead, Big Joe gets to stay at home with the boys’ mother. He spends most of his time sitting “up in his tree singing Oranges and Lemons,... (full context)
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
At the funeral, Tommo, his mother, Big Joe and Charlie sit on the front row. Their father’s coffin is placed in... (full context)
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
...that he was a “silly old fart,” and sometimes names that were “much worse.” Tommo’s mother had always warned the family that the Colonel paid their father’s wages, so they should... (full context)
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...stop talking so that Tommo’s father could hear the birds singing one last time. Tommo’s mother tells Big Joe that his father is “not really in his coffin anymore” but “in... (full context)
Chapter 2: Twenty to Eleven
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
When Tommo and Charlie were a bit older, their mother revealed to them that Big Joe had suffered from meningitis soon after he was born.... (full context)
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
...after school, and it seems like she never wants to go home. Even the boys’ mother loves Molly “like the daughter she’d never had.” (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
One day there is a knock at the door, and Tommo’s mother seems to be expecting it. The Colonel arrives, and asks to talk to Mrs. Peaceful... (full context)
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
Tommo’s mother has no choice but to take the job, so the only relative the Peacefuls have... (full context)
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
The family’s “whole world change[s]” when Grandma Wolf moves in. The boys barely see their mother because she was working so much, and Big Joe and everyone else are miserable because... (full context)
Chapter 3: Nearly Quarter Past Eleven
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
...by which she really means that Molly has been raised “strictly.” Tommo says that Molly’s mother and her father are indeed very strict, and often send her to her room or... (full context)
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
...for the Colonel anymore. Grandma Wolf moves back out to the village, and the children’s mother can finally be home to them. (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
...so he sets the traps while Molly and Tommo keep watch. They don’t tell their mother where they get the food from, but they catch a lot of rabbits and fish,... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
...this time he has good news: because the Colonel’s wife had been so fond of Mrs. Peaceful , she had made the Colonel promise to look after the Peaceful family if anything... (full context)
Chapter 4: Ten to Midnight
Courage Theme Icon
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
Charlie and Tommo return home and tell their mother everything, to which she promises that the Colonel will not beat the boys, not “over... (full context)
Chapter 5: Twenty-Four Minutes Past Twelve
Courage Theme Icon
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
...boys all celebrate wildly when the Colonel leaves, and are full of praise for their mother. (full context)
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
...the Colonel. However, Charlie isn’t happy, and neither is Tommo, because Molly has stopped visiting. Mrs. Peaceful is sure that someone must have told Molly’s parents about the situation with the Colonel... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Soon, Tommo leaves school, and his mother arranges for him to go and work on Farmer Cox’s farm with Charlie. Tommo is... (full context)
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
One day, Tommo and Charlie return home to find Molly and Molly’s mother waiting for them at their house. Molly looks as though she has been crying, and... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
...One afternoon, Bertha goes missing for a long time, and Tommo, Big Joe and their mother go looking for her. As Tommo is about to give up, he hears a gunshot... (full context)
Chapter 6: Nearly Five to One
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...animal funerals of their childhood, because everyone is silent, horrified, and “too angry to grieve.” Mrs. Peaceful assures Big Joe that Bertha is up in heaven now. (full context)
Chapter 7: Twenty-Eight Minutes Past One
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
Grief, Guilt, and Family Theme Icon
...home from work to find Molly crying in their house, being comforted by the boys’ mother. The boys are surprised and confused. Their mother explains that Molly has “come to stay.”... (full context)
The Injustice of War Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...he’s “never even met” a German, so he feels no desire to kill a German. Mrs. Peaceful tells Tommo that he’s too young to fight anyway. Tommo is a little disappointed, but... (full context)
Cruelty and Power Theme Icon
...must enlist, otherwise he will evict the Peacefuls from their cottage, and fire Molly and Mrs. Peaceful from their jobs. Charlie can’t believe the Colonel would do such a thing, but Molly... (full context)
Chapter 9: A Minute Past Three
The Injustice of War Theme Icon
...kept busy. Nevertheless, there are a few comforts. The Peacefuls have received letters from their mother and Molly, who have also sent “knitted woolen scarves and gloves and socks.” The men... (full context)
Chapter 11: Nearly Four O’Clock
The Injustice of War Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...baby boy, who has been named Thomas, or Little Tommo, in honor of Tommo. Tommo’s mother adds that Charlie is at home, and has told them all that he and Tommo... (full context)