Tomorrow, When the War Began

by

John Marsden

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Tomorrow, When the War Began Themes

Themes and Colors
War, Law, and Morality Theme Icon
Family, Friendship, and Love Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Transformation, and the Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Writing and Storytelling Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Tomorrow, When the War Began, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

War, Law, and Morality

As the title suggests, war is central in John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When the War Began. After a group of Australian teenagers return from a camping trip in the bush to find their small town invaded and taken over by an unknown foreign power, they fear it is the beginning of World War Three. The small group of seven, including Ellie and her best friend, Corrie, find their houses abandoned and their families missing…

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Family, Friendship, and Love

Family and friendship are motivating factors for all of the characters in Tomorrow, When the War Began. When Ellie and her friends return from their week-long camping trip in the bush, they are devastated to find their families have been taken captive during some type of invasion. Ellie and her friends must know if their families are safe, and they are willing to do anything in order to find them. As the war unfolds…

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Coming of Age, Transformation, and the Loss of Innocence

At its core, John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When the War Began is a coming-of-age story. Ellie and her friends are just high school students when an unknown foreign power invades their native Australia, and even though they aren’t yet old enough to legally drive, they must face the invading power alone in the bush—without their parents. As Ellie and her friends evade the encroaching enemy soldiers, they are constantly reminded of their childhood, which, though only…

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Writing and Storytelling

While they are certainly lesser themes within Marsden’s novel, writing and storytelling are nevertheless important aspects of Tomorrow, When the War Began. The story is told through Ellie, an Australian teenager nominated by her friends to record their experiences after their country is invaded by an unknown foreign power. Ellie is the best writer among her friends, and they elect her as Australia’s Poet Laureate when they fear their small group of eight…

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