"Tommorow when the war began" by John Marsden Evil is a human invention

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Good copy: "Evil is a Human invention"


"Tomorrow When the War began"; tells a powerful, intensive exciting, story of Ellie and her friends who struggle in the grips of war.

One of the central ideas in this novel explores the concept of evil. In his book, it is evident that evil is a result of conflict and every action in War. Ellie, the narrator in this story, changes because of war and starts to think of the seriousness of war and justify whether it is ok to kill or shoot people and whether or not it is evil. In war, killing is what you have to do for your country and valuing (saving) other people's lives. Australian lives in this novel are dramatically affected by war. Evil in particular is cruelly portrayed in the novel with a range of actions and images and themes. Ellie and her friends, faced heaps of ordeals such as accepting the idea to kill and the ugly choices you have to make.

So what is evil?

(Define evil) Evil is a result of conflict and every action in war

There is no doubt that War presents itself as evil to the reader since the start of the book.

However the book suggests that neither evil is good or bad, only thinking makes it so. Evil in particular, is cruelly portrayed.

A good example for instance are the jets, seen by Ellie is described as sinister and threatening on pg 38.

"A V-shaped line of jets raced overhead, very low overhead, and then another, till six lines in all had stormed through the sky above me. Their noise, their speed, their darkness frightened me."

Another good example is when Ellie finds the dog dead at the start on page 55.

"The dogs were dead. That was my first thought. They didn't jump around or moan with joy when I ran over to them, like they always had done. They lay besides their little galvanised iron humpies, flies all over them, oblivious to the last warmth of the sun. Their eyes were red and desperate and their snouts were covered with dried froth.

This is the first time that Evil presents itself to the group. The image of death in war is described by using the innocent family dog. John Marsden writes about the terror, rational, scared thoughts of Ellie as she sees the dogs' dead which is really upsetting for her and the reader. The dogs in this story are seen innocently. In a, way John Marsden smartly portrays the cruelty (and evil) of war by describing the dogs seen dead in the start of the story

Overall, all of this is one of the key aspects which make the whole idea (war) sound and look "evil" to the group.

From what they've been through, the group also has been psychologically and emotionally torned as a result of conflict.

Because of this, they explore the idea of whether to shoot or not. Like for example, in chapter 7, Lee warns Kevin of "making some ugly choices" if the dog comes along. This meant that, if a crisis occurs, (eg. Soldiers on the point of finding them) then the dog has to be silenced (killed) before the situation gets extreme.

But besides this, the group has also discovered that killing is what you have to do to value your friend's life above others. After all, it's ok to human nature.

The main s is Evil is a result of conflict and action in war. Evil is a human invention. It also has effected the group psychologically and questioned whether killing is evil or not and making ugly choices to value friends lives over others.

Ellie and the Hermit.

Ellie presents herself as an innocent person. She faces many challenges but what troubles her the most is accepting the idea that sometimes you have to kill to stay alive. She is at critical cross road, she is discovering the simple belief "thou should not kill" and especially since evil associated with it.

Ellie tries to overcome the horrors of what's she has done, such as blowing up the mower and running over soldiers when rescuing Lee. She has done this so that in the end it comes to valuing her friends such as Lee.

Ellie shares a link to the hermit. She has been responsible for the death of others.

The hermit's wife and child was killed by the hermit as they were both burnt horribly and that he could not bear to allow their sufferings go on. So he shot them in the head for the better instead of leaving them to suffer on fire. It was like an act of love.

Similarly, this also relates to Ellie because she also has killed people just to value others. As well as for living in hell too!

To sum it up, Ellie has been thinking about decisions of killing people and justifying whether it is right or evil. When we reach at the end of chapter 19, Ellie can see for herself that killing means nothing to nature. The dragonfly for example, eating the fly demonstrates this.

"He just enjoyed his meal. Humans would call it evil, the big dragonfly destroying the mosquito and ignored the little insects suffering. Yet humans hated mosquitos too, calling them vicious and bloodthirsty. All these words, words like 'evil' and 'vicious', they meant nothing to nature. Yes, evil was a human invention." (pg 243)

Therefore now Ellie accepts that killing is not bad as thought. Evil has nothing to with it. Evil is simply a human invention.

John Marsden portrayal of words, images and themes about evil.

The writer of Tomorrow When The War Began, John Marsden, delivers techniques such as imagery and emotive language to portray evil in War. The point is proved by the many examples of ordeals and horror Ellie and her friends faced

In thew story Marsden uses Ellie to describe the incidents that happened since their arrival in hell. Images (events) are used to highlight the mounting suspension, such as during the night, hundred of jets came in fast and low with no lights, fires scattered across the countryside and the idea that commeration day was used as an opportunity for an invasion.

Altogether, this shows the turning point of Ellies world changed, forever and exploring the message of war plus 'evil'.

For example, he smartly portrays the Jets in chapter 4 as sinister and threatening. He describes them like "black bats screaming out of the sky", the noise and how they stormed fast above very low when you had least expected that anybody would come when you think you're the only one person to ever come across hell.

This also shows comparison of the hell (peacefulness, peace) and jets to emphasis the meaning of evil from it.

Another good example is when Ellie finds the dog dead as explored earlier in my discussion.

These images confront both the reader and the character. Ellie states in pg 57 "There was nothing. I felt a new kind of fear now; a kind of fear I had never even known about before."

The worst part of the war is seeing someone house blown up. Take Corrie for instance, in chapter 9 on pg 119 Corrie and her friends had to watch her house blown up

"There was something sinister about it, something diabolical. It flew with a sense of purpose, deliberate and cold blooded. As it crossed the road it seemed to pause, a little, give a slight shudder. From under each wing flew two little darts, two horrible black things that grew as they approached us. They were coming terribly fast. Corrie gave a cry that I'll never forget, like a wounded bird. One rocket hit the house and one all it took."

By carefully looking at the imagery, themes and emotive language of this novel written by John Marsden. It realistically portrays the people suffering in the war, seeing Corries houses blown up and witnessing the destruction and chaos. But one thing is most certain, all war is evil. Evil is a human invention.


To summarise, Evil is a human invention in Tomorrow When the War Began. Evil is a result of conflict and every action in war. Killing is what you have to do to value your friends lives above enemies. Altogether, evil and killing means nothing to nature. John Marsden delivers techniques such as words, imagery and themes in the portrayal of evil involved in the book. It realistically portrays the people suffering and confronting the chaos and horrors.

There is no doubt that Evil really is a human invention.