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Aspects of Evacuation in Michelle Magorian's Good Night, Mr. Tom


  • Elisabeth Dolmark

Summary, in English

Good Night, Mr. Tom (1981) by Michelle Magorian is a children’s book about a British boy called Will, who gets a better life when he is evacuated during World War II. He comes from a poor home where he has been severely abused by his mother. In contrast, he is healed and taken good care of in the countryside by the old recluse Tom who even risks his life for him. In books and articles describing the evacuation, the general picture is more negative and contains many reports of children who were abused and homesick. The aim of this essay is to see if the novel gives a romantic picture of the evacuation. Several episodes are compared with historical sources in aspects of family life, social issues, education and cultural clashes in the countryside. The conclusion is that Will’s emotional and physical improvement seems to present an unrealistic, almost unlikely, image of the evacuation. Since the novel is sometimes used for educational purposes, it needs to be emphasized that many evacuees had quite different experiences than those of Will.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Evacuation Second World War World War II Abuse Children


  • Anna Lindhé (Dr)