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We'll be reading quite an action filled book this semester! It's the called "Tomorrow When the War Began" by John Marsden. Click the blue link to learn more about the author. It was also made into a major motion picture, and if we have the time we'll see if we can watch the film after we read the book. Watch this!

Year 9 English

Imaginative Writing and Text Unit 

This week we're going to be reading the first chapter of this book. I can say that I read it over the holidays...and I liked it. I hope you will to. While you're reading I want you to answer these questions in your English books. Download them here! If you still have not purchased the book "Tomorrow When The War Began" you can purchase it here.  Press this link.

The text we will be using is "Move Into English 3" By Rex and Sandra Sadler. If you still haven't got this book, YOU WILL NEED THIS!!!  Use this link to purchase it if you haven't already!

In class we will be doing a 400 word piece of imaginative writing, just so we can see how well you use punctuation , grammar and spelling. I also want to see what we have to work on to improve your writing skills! Here's the sheet you'll need for class!

We will also will be having a spelling test and competition each week. The whole list of words you can download here! We will work on the first 10 words this week!

Your homework for the week will be listed here. If you finish this week's work...move ahead!

Homework for Week 1 and 2:

Read Chapter 1 and 2 of "Tomorrow When The War Began"

Finish Chapter 1 and 2 Questions.

Study 10 Spelling words for Quiz next week.

Week 3:

In this week we'll start working in our books "Moving Into English 3", so make sure you have your books in class.  We will start by doing common, proper, collective and abstract nouns. Please finish "Classifying Nouns" on page 57, "Common and Proper Nouns" on page 58, "Collective Nouns" on page 59 and "Abstract Nouns" on Page 60. We will work through some of this in class, but you should have these finished by the end of the week. To help you understand the difference between this!

We will also start working on composing an argumentative essay in class. This week we will work on introductions to our persuasive essays in our books. Persuasive essays have a certain structure and you must learn this structure to write well in senior English. Lets have a look at a video that will give you an in introduction to the opening paragraph of a persuasive essay!

We will also be having a quiz on our first spelling list! You should also read chapter 3 of "Tomorrow When The War Began" and finish the study questions in your book.

Homework for Week 3:

Chapter 3 reading and questions for "Tomorrow When The War Began".

Highlighted work in "Move Into English 3" (as noted above).

Study for Spelling Quiz

Persuasive Essay Structure Unit: 

This week we'll be working on completing our persuasive essay in class. We will look to completing the TEEL structure. TEEL is an essay structure that you will be using for almost every essay you compose in senior school. TEEL actually stands for :

T: Topic

E: Explanation

E: Evidence

L: Link

Here's a small video on how to compose the "Body" paragraphs in a persuasive essay.


Book work in "Moving Into English 3": "Forming Singular and Plural Nouns" Page 60. 

You should also complete reading Chapter 4 and 5 of "Tomorrow When The War Began" and completing the chapter questions.

Week 4 Homework:

Finish essay in class.

Book work in "Moving Into English 3": "Forming Singular and Plural Nouns" Page 60.

Complete reading Chapter 4/5 of "Tomorrow When The War Began" and completing the chapter questions.

New spelling list and quiz on Monday

Week 5/6/7: Completing the work.

Due Tuesday after Labour Day.

Up to Chapter 7 questions in TWWB.

All exercises in "Move into English" Up to Page 60.

Spelling test on all words from Week 4.

Here's another video on essay structure. Have a listen to this!


Researching an Essay and Persuasive Essay Construction Unit:


  • You should have completed reading and questions up to Chapter 12 of TWWB.
  • Remember to make general notes on plot and characters for your text test later in the term!
  • You need to finish the plan for your persuasive essay!

Essay Research:

The first thing you have to do is mind map your essay (as we did in class). This is followed by completing an ECHO or Google search for articles and sources that may provide statistics, quotes or anecdotal evidence that will support your contention.


Remember the TEEL structure and also remember that you must use a bibliography for anything that you quote in your essay.

March 25-Spring Break

You are to finish the following during your vacation!

  • You should finish questions and reading up to Chapter 16 in "Tomorrow When The War Began" (the worksheet with the completed questions are due after break.
  • You should complete the essay sheet that I gave out in class (make sure that you have finished it before you come back!
  • You should have chosen a topic for your essay, as we will be going ahead with your essay assignment the first week back.
  • Now I want you all to watch this video. It is a 3rd grade video I procured from the net. You should ALL be writing in paragraphs. From now on, I will be handing back work that does not follow the rules of simple paragraph structure. (The last assignment showed some shocking structure). 
  • Finish 87-90 and do paragraphs and topic sentences in your "Move Into English 3".


  • Now that we've got that straight...lets talk a little about the use of quotation marks...

You will be asked to complete your first essay based on your grid plan when we get back from break. We will also talk about persuasive language. Watch this video to get started on "persuasive language". 

When you write an essay you have to write a bibliography, here's a video on writing bibliographies. 


Basic English Grammar!

Our last writing assignment showed a lack of basic English rules when writing paragraphs, capitalizing and writing in tense. 

  • Remember when you start a story in the past tense...for example...

"I had a dog named Spot, who frequently found himself at the neighbor's house."

The use of "had" means that you telling the story in the past tense. You need to keep that tense throughout the story, for it to make sense!

  • You must ALWAYS capitalize proper nouns...the names of specific people places and things!
  • You must ALWAYS capitalize at the start of sentences!
  • You must ALWAYS write in complete sentences!
  • You must ALWAYS divide your writing into paragraphs! Remember, each paragraph is ONE IDEA! Here is an example of a properly written paragraph:


Persuasive Essay Structure

As we discussed in class, here is the proper structure for a persuasive essay.

Paragraph 1

1.    Start with the title of the essay. Make a mind map of points to persuade and evidence.

2.    In your first sentence...write the Contention or Thesis Statement. Example:   "Children should be allowed to have mobile phones."

3. List points that you will be talking about in the essay.

4. Link to your first point.

Paragraph 2

1. Topic: Start in your first sentence naming the point you will be discussing in this paragraph.

2. Example: Site an example and explain why your point is correct.

3. Evidence: Site evidence proving your point. This can be statistics, anecdotal, quotes or simply real life examples or observations that support your case.

4. Link: Link to the next point you will be talking about.

Paragraph 3

Same structure as above!





Paragraph 4

Same structure as above!


Paragraph 5: Rebuttal

1. Bring up an opposing argument to your point of view. You can start the paragraph using phrases like, "some people say" or "it has been said"....

2. Argue against the opposing argument.

Paragraph 6

1. Restate your Contention.

2. Using different phrasing, touch again on each one of the reasons for your contention.

3. Conclude and sum up your argument (many times it pays to use a quote). 


 Homework Check  for English: 14/5/13

You should have finished a persuasive essay on these two points:

"Dark Chocolate is better than White Chocolate"



"Mobile phones should be allowed in school"

You should use the structure for a persuasive essay, and complete a mind map as we have discussed in class. Though it is not exactly the way I have shown in class, this video reviews the different ways you can use mind maps to plan your writing. 

Assignment in workbook:

When I was away this week, I assigned the following work in "Move Into English 3". Please finish this work in your book.

"Present Participles" Pg. 63

Read 63 and then finish "Matching Present Participles with Nouns" 1-20

"Past Participles" Pg. 64

Complete "Forming Past Participles of Verbs" 1-6

"Using Past Participles as Adjectives" 1-16

Character Oral Presentation:

Your task is to create a character profile on one of the main characters: Ellie, Homer, Corrie, Lee, Kevin, Robyn, or Fi. This will be presented as a 3-4 minute oral in front of the class.

You must outline the following for each character:
1. A description of the character’s background before the war. Address their family, where they lived and how they fit into the group (what is their relationship to the other characters?).
2. A list of characteristics of their personality. Include at least three positive and three negative.
3. An outline of how the other group members view them and their ‘position’ in the group.
4. An outline of how they have progressed as a character throughout the novel. How have they changed?
5. List the main events involving this character.
6. Find three quotes that reveal important information about this character. Explain why you chose these quotes
You are to be VERY detailed. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge.
You will be required to take down notes from the other presentations so LISTEN carefully.
OPTIONAL: You may do a PowerPoint presentation as a visual aid for your oral if you wish.
DUE DATE: Presentations will begin on Friday, 24th May

We will be watching the film and working on these presentations throughout the week. Here is the download of the assignment, and a worksheet to help you!

Here are some quotes from the book...can you name who said them?

“It’s terribly, terribly important recording what we’ve done, in words, on paper, it’s got to be our way of telling ourselves that we mean something, that we matter. That the things we’ve done have made a difference. I don’t know how big a difference, but a difference. Writing it down means we might be remembered. And by God that matters to us. None of us wants to end up as a pile of dead white bones, unnoticed, unknown, and worst of all, with no one knowing or appreciating the risks we’ve run.” (Chapter 1)

“We’ve all had to rewrite the scripts of our lives the last few weeks. We’ve learnt a lot and we’ve had to figure out what’s important, what matters – what really matters. It’s been quite a time.” (Chapter 1)

“Their noise, their speed, their darkness frightened me. I realised that I was crouching, as though being beaten. I stood up. It seemed that they were gone. The noise faded quickly, till I could no longer hear it. But something remained. The air didn’t seem as clear, as pure. There was a new atmosphere. The sweetness had gone; the sweet burning coldness had been replaced by a new humidity. I could smell the jet fuel. We’d thought that we were among the first humans to invade this basin, but humans had invaded everything, everywhere. They didn’t have to walk into a place to invade it. Even Hell was not immune.” (Chapter 4)

“‘Why did people call it Hell?’ I wondered. All those cliffs and rocks, and that vegetation, it did look wild. But wild wasn’t Hell. Wild was fascinating, difficult, wonderful. No place was Hell, no place could be Hell. It’s the people calling it Hell, that’s the only thing that made it so. People just sticking names on places, so that no one could see those places properly any more.” (Chapter 4)

“No, Hell wasn’t anything to do with places, Hell was all to do with people. Maybe Hell was people.” (Chapter 4)

“I took a deep breath, and fuelled by the mixture of muesli and Rice Bubbles that I’d just eaten, launched into a description of what we’d seen at the Showground. Kevin and Corrie chimed in occasionally when I forgot a detail, but it was only when I got to the part in Mrs Alexander’s back garden that I began to have trouble. I couldn’t look at anyone, just down at the table, at the piece of muesli box that I was screwing up and twisting and spinning around in my fingers. It was hard for me to believe that I, plain old Ellie, nothing special about me, middle of the road in every way, had probably just killed three people. It was too big a thing for me to get my mind around. When I thought of it baldly like that: killed three people, I was so filled with horror. I felt that my life was permanently damaged, that I could never be normal again, that the rest of my life would just be a shell. Ellie might walk and talk and eat and drink but the inside Ellie, her feelings, was condemned to wither and die. I didn’t think much about the three soldiers as people: I couldn’t, because I had no real sense of them. I hadn’t even seen their faces properly. I didn’t know their names or ages or families or backgrounds, the way they thought about life. I still didn’t know what country they were from. Because I didn’t know any of the things you need to know before you truly know a person, the soldiers hardly existed for me as real people. So I tried to describe it all as though I were an outsider, a spectator, someone reading it from a book. A history book about other people, not about me. I felt guilty and ashamed about what had happened. Another thing I was afraid of was almost the opposite: that if I told the story of the mower with any drama at all, the others, especially the boys, would get all macho about it, and start acting like it was a big heroic thing. I didn’t want to be Rambo, just me: just Ellie.” (Chapter 8 )

“In the midst of death we are in life.” (Chapter 10)

“Cold, fear, excitement. They were all contributing generously. But the greatest of these was fear. That rang a bell – a quote from somewhere. Yes, the Bible: ‘and the greatest of these was love’. My fear came from love. Love for my friends. I didn’t want to let them down. If I did, they would die.” (Chapter 11)

“I tried to imagine a murderer carefully planting and cultivating these beautiful plants; tried, and failed. Still, I supposed even murderers must have things they liked, and they must do something with their spare time. They couldn’t just sit around all day for the rest of their lives and think about their murders.” (Chapter 14)

“I didn’t know if I was making myself feel bad by trying to make myself feel good, thinking about my parents, but it was my way of keeping them alive and in my thoughts. I was scared of what might happen if I stopped doing that, if I let them start drifting away, the way I was drifting away now, into sleep.” (Chapter 15)

“I was remembering how a long time ago – it seemed like years – I’d been thinking about this place, Hell, and how only humans could have given it such a name. Only humans knew about Hell; they were the experts on it. I remembered wondering if humans were Hell. The Hermit for instance; whatever had happened that terrible Christmas Eve, whether he’d committed an act of great love, or an act of great evil … But that was the whole problem, that as a human being he could have done either and he could have done both. Other creatures didn’t have this problem. They just did what they did. I didn’t know if the Hermit was a saint or a devil, but once he’d fired those two shots it seemed that he and the people round him had sent him into Hell.
They sent him there and he sent himself there. He didn’t have to trek all the way across to these mountains into this wild basin of heat and rock and bush. He carried Hell with him, as we all did, like a little load on our backs that we hardly noticed most of the time, or like a huge great hump of suffering that bent us over with its weight.” (Chapter 16)

“People, shadows, good, bad, Heaven, Hell: all of these were names, labels, that was all. Humans had created these opposites: Nature recognised no opposites. Even life and death weren’t opposites in Nature: one was merely an extension of the other. All I could think of to do was to trust to instinct. That was all I had really. Human laws, moral laws, religious laws, they seemed artificial and basic, almost childlike. I had a sense within me – often not much more than a striving – to find the right thing to do, and I had to have faith in that sense. Call it anything – instinct, conscience, imagination – but what it felt like was a constant testing of everything I did against some kind of boundaries within me; checking, checking, all the time.
Perhaps war criminals and mass murderers did the same checking against the same boundaries and got the encouragement they needed to keep going down the path they had taken. How then could I know that I was different?” (Chapter 16)

“The human eye doesn’t look above its own height.” (Chapter 20)

“‘Let’s go home,’ Homer said, ‘to Hell.’” (Chapter 22)

“We’ve got to stick together, that’s all I know. We all drive each other crazy at times, but I don’t want to end up here alone, like the Hermit. Then this really would be Hell. Humans do such terrible things to each other that sometimes my brain tells me they must be evil. But my heart still isn’t convinced.
I just hope we can survive.” (Epilogue)

List of Characters!


Ellie is the girl who, along with Corrie, comes up with the idea for the camping trip. Ellie is a natural leader and tries to reconcile being the leader with being "bossy," as some accuse. Ellie is determined to find a way into the area known as "Hell" and is grateful when another member of the group supports that when it seems impossible. As it turns out, this is a very positive move because the group ends up setting up a long-term camp in the area when the country is invaded and all the local residents are taken prisoner. As they are returning home after the camping trip, Ellie is nervous and worried but finds herself unwilling to press the others to return more quickly because she doesn't want to be called "bossy" again. Ellie is chosen by the group to record the events as they happened in an effort to have their history set down on paper. She pledges that it will be honest and says that some of the others aren't happy with the result. Ellie is the first to kill another person and she feels a conflicted guilt over her actions. While they are on the camping trip, she realizes that Homer is no longer the "boy next door" but has grown into an attractive and interesting young man. She struggles with her emotions because she is also attracted to another member of the group, Lee, who returns her affection. Ellie eventually pairs off with Lee.
One of the original seven, he is known as a clown. He and Ellie live near each other and have grown up together. Ellie refers to Homer as "brother", though they are not related by blood. In school, Homer had developed a reputation for teasing others and for making fun of himself. Ellie says that Homer would taunt the girls at school into making rude comments about him, putting on a front that indicated that it didn't hurt his feelings. Homer pairs off with Fiona, though he is obviously very conscious of the fact that Fiona's family is much wealthier. Homer is not exactly the kind of person who would have been expected to be a leader but he takes that role very easily and the others, recognizing that ability for the first time, allow him to lead in many situations. Homer believes that the main thing for the group to do is to remain together and to keep their numbers as strong as possible. Toward that end, he mounts a daring rescue of two of the members of the group and wants to leave an injured girl at the door of the hospital with the hope that she'll be cared for. It's Homer's idea to blow up the bridge.

One of the original seven-member camping party, Fiona is small and delicate but strong and determined. Fiona's family is wealthy and Ellie realizes that little in Fiona's life has prepared her for the labor and danger they face after the invasion, but Fiona faces it as well as any of the group. Fiona is attracted to Homer, but it takes some time for her to admit and act on her feelings.

A member of the original seven, Lee lives in the town of Wirrawee. His parents own a restaurant and the group frequents that establishment. Ellie notes that Lee doesn't usually spend a great deal of time with her friends but that he is an interesting person and she decides to invite him on the camping trip in order to get to know him better. Lee and Ellie become a pair.

Corrie Mackenzie
Characters 15
Corrie is Ellie's best friend. Ellie and Corrie have plans to travel together after high school graduation. Corrie is willing to do whatever is necessary and she is out with Kevin, searching for ferrets, on the night she's shot in the back. Corrie is taken by Kevin to the hospital and her fate is unknown.

A member of the original seven, Kevin is a stable person and Ellie says she expects that he'll grow old as a farmer in the area, taking over the tasks of farming and community being done by his father. Kevin is a little older than the rest of the group and he's paired off with Corrie.

Originally meant to be one of the group that camps out, Chris is not allowed to go because his parents are going to be out of the country and he's needed at home. Chris hides out after the invasion and meets up with Ellie and the others when they come to his house looking for a car. Chris is considered odd by many of the students, though most agree that he's also a genius. He's musical and writes poetry and Ellie notes that he might have been disappointed that he wasn't chosen to record the history.

Robyn Mathers
Another member of the original seven, Robyn has trouble talking her parents into letting her go, but Ellie convinces Mr. Mathers that it's a safe trip and a good idea. Robyn has a very competitive nature and is the most religious of the group.

Ellie's Father
He is initially against allowing Ellie to go camping with Corrie, Homer and Kevin. He tries to convince them to choose a closer place to camp but relents, though he insists that there be a larger group. He's a farmer and is captured at the Commemoration Day event.

Ellie's ex-boyfriend. He doesn't appear during the story except in Ellie's memories. When Lee expresses an interest in Ellie and she puts him off, Lee wonders if it means Ellie is still interested in Steve. She admits to having been very involved with Steve at one point but doesn't seem to be heartbroken over their breakup.

Links for "TWWB"

 Here's a helpful chapter summary from :

 Tomorrow When The War Began


Chapter 1:

Robyn (pg 1)
Chris (pg 2)
Fi (pg 3)
Corrie (pg 3)
Kevin (pg 5)
Elliot - was going to invite him on their trip but he is to lazy (pg 6)
Meriam - was going to invite on their trip but shes always doing work experience (pg 6)
Homer (pg 7)
Ellie (pg 8)
Lee (pg 10)

Significant events:
Corrie wants to go on a road trip to Taylor Stitch or into Hell. (pg 3-4)

What happened:
We met Robyn, Chris, Fi, Corrie, Kevin
''The Hermit was meant to have killed his own wife and children''
Try to talk mum and dad into letting them go
Talking a little bit about the characters, Kevin and Homer mostly.

'' Corrie wants to go on a road trip to Taylor Stitch or into Hell''
''The Hermit was meant to have killed his own wife and children''

Chapter 2:

They were actually missing the commemoration day to come on their trip. They are going to do a bushwalk along Tailor’s Stitch and also to get away in Wirrawee into the mountains for a few days. After the lone travel they were on the south side of a knoll near Mt. Martin. A sharp straight ridge, bare black rocks forming a thin line. Then they saw the other side and it was Hell. They climbed those big rocks to get on the top. They stop because they’re tired and decided to get the packs out on the Landrover. While the others are packing out Ellie asked Fi that what the things she got in her pack are. The Fi answered it was shirts, jumpers, gloves, socks, undies and towel but Ellie asked one more question again what else in her pack the Fi started looking embarrassed. She said she got dressing gown. At about five o’clock they’re moving again from the top, Satan’s step looked as wild and forbidding as they had from distance. At least they’ve seem willing to take a shot at the first of Satan’s step but it is difficult. There was a quite sheer drop either side of the black but there was a log that will help them. So after a few minutes Kevin is the last one who climbed on the log. He slid the last few yards down the tree because he is scared of creepy crawlies. Then Ellie taught that they were getting around on the third step but Corrie stop her. She said she found a running water to get some drink. It’s was getting late they set up the camp site. Then finally Robyn said she found a bridge.
· “ And on the other side was Hell “
· “Fi’s pack ... the more I looked at it the more I began to realise now swollen it seems!! “
· “God no, help, there’s creepy crawlies everywhere!! Get them off me. “
· “I just found a bridge”.


Chapter 3:

In the beginning of Chapter 3, all seven main characters are on their way to Hell. They come along an old bridge that had been beautifully built. It crossed a creek and was about 5 metres long and a metre wide. They nearly decided to camp in the clearing but they had an urge to keep exploring.

The track they were taking always seemed to be downhill and covered in leaf litter. The track was coming to an end and they found their camp, which was the size of a hockey field.

They found a creek that was freezing cold, even on a Summer’s day. They started a fire so they could cook their dinner- 2 minute noodles. Fi didn’t know what 2 minute noodles were. Fi was described as an exotic butterfly.

At night they stayed up late and talked because they were excited to be there.


Chapter 4:

Chapter four is about them in felt “Hell” a snake goes into Homers Sleeping bag, they try to get it out and they get scared and drop the sleeping bag the snake slither out and straight into the bush. There is a part about where a “V shaped” planes go over and they had the lights switched off on the plane so no-one could see them fly over, but they could smell the jet fuel. Right through the chapter they were in the place called “Hell”.
In chapter four they are getting fat and restless, and they can’t be bothered to explore. Everything and everyone changes when the planes go over with no lights on.
Homer feels some connection between Fi and him. Ellie is a deep sleeper and sleeps though heaps.
Summary of Chapter Four:
The chapter begins with the group of friends sitting around doing nothing in the morning. In the evening Homer sits down on to a sleeping bag and discovers that a snake was in his sleeping bag. They try to tip it out, but the drop the bag and it shoots out towards Corrie. Fi jumps in the water not knowing that snakes can swim.

In the middle of the night Ellie wakes to black jets flying overhead. In the morning she finds that Robyn, Fi and Lee heard them, also. Robyn tells the others that dozens and dozens of them were flying overhead all night long. Lee jokes that Commemoration Day would be a perfect day to invade Australia. In the morning Homer reveals to Ellie that he likes Fi.

“And like black bats screaming out of the sky, blotting out the stars, a v-shaped line of jets raced overhead, very low ahead. Their noise, their speed, their darkness frightened me.” –Ellie
“There was dozens and dozens all night long.” –Robyn
“It’s probably the start of world war three,” said Lee. “We’ve probably been invaded and we don’t even know it.” –Lee
“That’s when I first…when I realised…Well it’s the first time I really took notice of her. I always thought that she was a stuck up snob. But she’s not. She’s really nice.” –Homer
“No, Hell wasn’t anything to do with places, Hell was all to do with people. Maybe Hell was people.” –Ellie

Significant Events:
1) Jets flying overhead in the middle of the night,
2) Homer admitting that he likes Fi. To Ellie he was always the kid that had no feelings.
3) Ellie realising that Hell wasn’t places it was people.


Chapter 5:

They were very lazy, always putting off going to the top of the mountains to hike.
Corrie and Ellie were the most energetic; they took a few walks, to the bridge or to different cliffs.
Corrie and Ellie both want to travel when they are older. They want to travel to Indonesia, Thailand, China, India, Egypt and maybe Europe or Africa.
They were running out of food but they were too lazy to go back to the Land rover to get more food.
They had gone through 5 days without any serious arguments, but they had a few silly arguments.
Everyone decides that the want to come back to Hell, with the same people. They don’t want other people to know about it because they might ruin it.
The trip back up the cliffs was very tiring, hard and hot. The only thing that keeps them going is Fi saying stuff about have decent food and a hot shower.
Homer stays close to Fi, and helps her a lot.
There are 6 suspicious fires that are spread out. 2 of which are which are quite big. None of them are anywhere near them. (In Hell)
Some people went swimming in the creek.
Lee and Ellie talk. Ellie learns a lot from Lee.

Significant Events.
· The group spend their last days camping and they realise that they don’t want to leave. They want to stay longer and have more fun. They also want to come back to the same place with the same people. They don’t want others to know about their wonderful campsite.
· The group don’t like to hike back in the hot and humid weather. The climb is very dangerous and steep. They get very tired.
· There are 6 fires in the distance that nobody can figure out why they are there.
· Ellie and Lee feel uneasy and senses something is wrong, but they can’t figure out what.

Character Development
ELLIE=Ellie talks to Corrie; they share a dream (travelling). Ellie leans that working in a restaurant is hard. (By talking to Lee). She feels uneasy and weird. She wants to get home to see her family to see if they are okay.
CORRIE=We learn that she wants to travel and become a nurse in a country that needs nurses urgently. She was homesick in Year 8 Camp. She works away quietly on people until she gets what she wants. She is very forgiving and doesn’t hold grudges.
ROBYN=She doesn’t want to go home. She thinks it’s the best place ever and she had a really really good time. Robyn tells Ellie she is bossy.
FIONA=Always disappears when they cook or do washing up. Looks forward to a hot shower and decent food. Has mixed feelings for Homer. Went swimming.
KEVIN=If he had chocolate he would go up to the Land rover to get food. He is still embarrassed about the snake incident. Fells a bit sensitive.
LEE=He likes being in Hell. He thinks it was fun. Feels uptight, has a feeling that something is wrong.
HOMER=Tries to get closer to Fi. Helps Fi a lot. Likes Fi. Keeps on trying to prank Corrie.

=Between Kevin and Fi=For Fi not being there when cooking or washing up.
=Between Corrie and Homer=Homer pulling mean jokes/pranks on Corrie
=Between Kevin and Ellie=Ellie always trying to ‘fix’ the fire.
=Between everyone=which coloured cars are most consumptions
No more decent food.
Climbing/Making their way back to the land rover, very hard and tiring.
Ellie wanting to get a move on, but the rest of the group plays around.

“Corrie! You got homesick on the Year 8 camp, and that was only 4 days!’ Ellie says to Corrie.
“I don’t want to go back. This is the best place and this week has been the best’ Robyn says to the group.
“Yea, ok” Homer said, obviously thinking of spending another 5 days with Fi.
“I wish they’d get a move on, I’m keen to get home” Ellie says to Lee.
As we got a better view of the plains we were surprised to see 6 different fires in the distance scattered across the countryside. None of the fires were remotely close to out place. [Hell]
I was a heavy sleeper but the last few nights I couldn’t settle down. I felt some kind of strange anxiety.

Chapter 6:

In chapter 6 the characters arrive back from hell to Ellie’s house and find most of the family’s animals dead and the house abandoned. The group then tried to come up with an explanation for the strange and scary circumstances, getting more worried after each failed suggestion. The gang then decided to drive in the land rover to Homer’s, where they find his house in the same state as Ellie’s. They then had to decide if it was in their best interests to use the RF radio, they let Ellie decide and she believes they shouldn’t use it. The group then chose to talk about what might have happened in their town while they were away, Homer then found some evidence of his mother’s that proved whatever happened to their families, took place at Commemoration Day.

Important Quotes
“The dogs were dead... their chains were stretched and their was blood around their necks, where their collars had held”

“In the house there was nothing wrong, and that was what was wrong. There was no sign of life at all”

“…. We’ve been invaded. I think there might be a war”

In Chapter 6 there is one conflict between Robyn and Ellie when the group was trying to come up with a theory for their families’ disappearance.

Ellie: “Of course it’s bad” I yelled at her “Do you think my dad would leave his dogs to die like that? Do you think Ill be having a good laugh about that tomorrow?” I was screaming and crying at the same time

Robyn: Robyn started crying and yelling “I didn’t mean it like that way Ellie, you know I didn’t!”

They then resolved the issue:

Ellie: “I’m sorry Robyn” I said “I know you didn’t mean….”
Robyn: “Im sorry too” she said “It was a bad choice of words”

Significant Events
Coming home to find the dogs dead and their families gone.
Finding no mess at the house but it being normal, showing no sign that the family was taken, but just disappeared.
Went to Homer’s and found it in the same state as Ellie’s, proving that something big has happened.
The group then assessed the situation and came up with the conclusion, that whatever happened to their families’ happened at Commemoration Day.

Chapter 7:


They all go to Kevin’s and find his pet corgi, Flip. Then they decide to take Flip with them. When the group are at Corrie’s, Ellie finds a message on the Mackenzie’s fax machine for Corrie. It’s from her father, the message was sent from the show secretary’s office saying, “People say it’s just army manoeuvres” and “go bush. Don’t come out till it’s safe”. They split up and Ellie, Kevin and Corrie are to check things out at the showground. After seeing Ellie’s primary school teacher at the show ground from a distance and seeing how guarded the place is they leave. Soon they realize soldiers are following them and they are shooting. Ellie decides to fight back with a homemade bomb from the petrol in the ride-on mower, rags and matches. The bomb explodes and does its job successfully and they run to meet the others on the hill a 3:35, five minutes late from their agreed time.


- (Lee on making the decision to keep Flip) “We might have to make some ugly choices”.
- (Homer on the subject of splitting up) “Five people free and two locked up is a better equation then no people free and seven locked up.”

Significant events
- Corrie getting a fax from her dad
- Seeing the show ground
- Ellie blowing up the lawn mower and the soldiers

Character Development
- Homer, being able to make the best decision for the group, which was splitting up.
- Ellie, to make an explosion big enough to escape the soldiers in the short amount of time she had before they arrived.

- At first when Homer suggests splitting up every one is against it and there is a bit of protest going on until he reasons with them.

Chapter 8:

Plot Summary
The group has arrived at Corrie’s place before dawn. Ellie feels sick and in her mind she is singing as chorus of a song, in which she sings over and over again, because she was trying to forget the events that had happened earlier. They arrive halfway down Corrie’s driveway. Ellie stops at the porch to rest but Homer tells her to keep moving. Everyone felt at home except Lee and Robyn who were currently away. Ellie, Corrie and Kevin were telling the others about what they encountered such as the mower incident. Ellie feels that she is permanently damaged because she had probably killed three people. Homer told them that they should not feel bad since the soldiers had invaded their land unexpectedly. After they told their story, Homer and Fi told theirs. They went into town, and they said that there was a lot of damage done. There were soldiers everywhere, so they had to be extra careful. They went to Fi’s house, and Homer was attacked by her cat. After Homer and Fi’s story, the rest of the group were worried about Lee and Robyn, not knowing what has happened to them. By then Ellie is beginning to realize Homer’s leadership skills.

Significant Events
· Telling each other what had happened, since they were split into groups.
· Ellie knowing that Homer has changed.

Character Development
Homer – starts to act like a leader, since he could not be trusted before.

“It was hard for me to believe that I, plain old Ellie, nothing special about me, middle of the road in every way, had probably just killed three people.”
“Homer was becoming more surprising with every passing hour. It was getting hard to remember that this fast-thinking guy, who’d just spent fifteen minutes getting us laughing and talking and feeling good again, wasn’t even trusted to hand out the books at school.”

Chapter 9:

Chapter Nine is quite an intense chapter. They are at Corrie’s house and collecting things, and getting ready to leave for ‘Hell’. ‘Suddenly we heard a distant disturbing noise’. A helicopter was observing the house and was waiting for the kids to move. They all went to go check on Kevin to see if he was okay,.. But he wasn’t okay. ‘They’re staring right at me’ He said. Everyone knew that if he moved they would all be on danger. Homer has grown to be such a great leader so far. ‘Don’t move, it’s the movement that’s the give away’. He was keeping everyone together. He kept everyone safe and made good decisions for the group not just for himself. As the helicopter left they had took their chances of packing what they needed while it was gone because there was a high chance that they could come back. They went to the shearers shed after they had got everything packed.

The soldiers knew they saw someone in the house. ‘... A black jet, fast and lethal, came low from the west.’ A rocket from the soldiers was flying towards the house. ‘One rocket hit the house, and one was all it took. The house came apart in slow motion.’ A second rocket came and slammed into the hillside right next to the house. Having the conflict with the soldiers has made them think more carefully about their actions and every move that they made. Homer, like I have already said... has turned into a great leader.

To me, this chapter was about how the teens needed to start thinking like soldiers, and start being soldiers.


Chapter 10:

In this chapter, the group decide to bring Lee and Robyn back from Wirrawee. Ellie and Homer are chosen to be sent into Wirrawee, since Corrie was still in a shock after the enemies had blown up her house, while Kevin stayed in Hell to look after her. When they arrive at Robyn’s house, they find Robyn who tells them that Lee had been shot and what had happened to them during the time they were hiding. They find out that there were still some people out there that are still fighting and haven’t given up yet. Since Lee wasn’t able to walk, they decided to make some rash decisions to get Lee back to Hell and themselves unharmed.

Significant Events

Deciding to get Lee and Robyn back from Wirrawee
Lee getting shot
Robyn and Lee finding Mr. Clement, the dentist
Robyn and Lee getting spotted in Wirrawee, that’s where Lee gets shot
Deciding how to get Lee out of the restaurant and safely back in Hell

Character Development

Homer starts to think like a soldier. He starts to become more mature and think for the safety of the group and how they would get through this. He becomes a sort of leader and makes up most of the decisions that they make. This is a big change since, when Homer was at school; he had been a trouble-maker and had been wild and outrageous.

Ellie starts to fall for the ‘new’ Homer.

Robyn becomes braver and Ellie thought that Robyn deserved a medal on how she rescued Lee from the enemy soldiers. Robyn used to worry easily and had been quiet and serious at the start of the novel.


Lee getting shot in Wirrawee was a big conflict in this chapter. Since wasn’t able to walk, they had to think up ideas that might get them and Lee back to Hell unharmed. They start to think up of plans like using quiet vehicles but then they decide to use a bulldozer and pick up Lee from the restaurant, since using a bulldozer would surprise the enemy. They also decide to do at four am in the morning because that was when humans were at their weakest.

Important Quotes

“Homer had an ability to put himself into the minds of the soldiers, to think their thoughts and to see through their eyes.”
“We were in the middle of a desperate struggle to stay alive, but here I was, still thinking about boys and love.”
“‘He’s been shot’” – Robyn
“He said he thought there were a few dozen people like himself hiding out, but after they’d seen what had happened to people who, in his words, ‘tried to be heroes’, they were all keeping well out of sight”
“They were dodging towards the door of the news agency when shots started pouring down the street.”
“He was limping badly, staring at her but biting his lip, determined not to cry out.”
“‘You keep going like this, you’ll lose your reputation. Aren’t you meant to be just a wild and crazy guy?’” – Robyn
“‘That’s when humans are always at their weakest,’ I contributed. ‘We did that in Human Dev. Three to four am, that’s when most deaths occur in hospitals.’” – Ellie

Chapter 11:

In the start of chapter 11 it was all full on. Lee was injured and at his families restaurant waiting to be saved by Ellie and Robyn, in a truck they stole. Lee got wheelbarrowed into the shovel on the truck. Then they got chased by soliders Ellie ran straight over a jeep wiht three soliders in it, another jeep continued to chase them they got shot at the entire time while being followed, then Ellie stopped suddenly and the jeep went flying over them and flipped. They got away and met Homer and Robyn on Three Pigs Lane, where they switched vehicles and headed to Chris's in order to change vehicles again incase they had been spotted.They pulled up at Chris's and dumped there get away vehicle in the dam out back while they disgustd what to do next, something came out of the old piggery it was Chris he had been hiding in there from everyone his paretns had gone overseas and he didnt go to Commemoration Day. So they took Chris's parents Merc and he went with them back to hell.

The main conflict in this chapter was between the soliders and the group they had been shot at chased and had a head on crash with.

Ellie changed she became a solider in attack she had to drive the truck and she even ran over a jeep of soliders. She was in attack.


Chapter 12:

Significant events: Lee getting shot in the leg by soldiers, Ellie saw she had some feeling for lee. Went to hell as a hide out.

Conflict: Ellie saw Chris asleep when he was meant to been on guard looking for soldiers as this started off an argument.

Quotes: “I stopped. I didn’t have any plans to become the local slut” – “I’d blocked off all my emotions reactions because there hadn’t been the time or the opportunity for those luxuries. But it’s like they say, ‘emotion denied is emotion deferred’ – “Chris, who was sure that he’d been the cause of my having a nervous breakdown”.

Setting: ‘’ I could see right across the paddock to the bush and on up into the mountains’’ pg 159


Chapter 13:

Corrie had her Father’s radio, everyday she would fiddle with it, but wouldn’t let anyone else touch it. One day Corrie reported to Ellie that the batteries were getting flat. It was then that Ellie found out that the radio could get excess to worldwide radio stations. Ellie asked Corrie if she had been only trying the local stations and Corrie said yes. They gained excess to the other worldwide stations and fell upon one that was reporting about what was going on in Australia. The whole group listened it the radio. That how America was warned that if she tried to help and intervene with the war going on, she would find herself in the longest, costliest and bloodiest war ever. The general claimed that the season for the invasion was to “Reducing balances. After the group heard that international outrage continued to mount and a lot of fighting in countries and a few scattered words, the radio died. Homer quickly suggested that everyone should write down what they heard, after they did, they chose what seemed like the main and important points. Homer was thinking long term and decided that they should get a few animals and cattle’s in Hell so that they could use the cattle as food. Next their plain was to observe how the military worked and what sort of pattern it was. So they decided to send 6 people down, all in groups of two. The pair would keep in contact with walkie talkies. Kevin and Corrie, Fiona and Homer, Chris and Robyn. They would all note down what they saw in the show ground and in 48 hours time, come back to hell.

In the middle of chapter 13 an argument develops between Kelvin and Robyn. They start arguing after Robyn says “and now they have taken the cookie and crumbled it a whole new way.” After this is said, Kelvin misunderstands Robyn and thinks that she is fine with the invasion, soon after that, and after Kelvin insulting her religion, Robyn starts to defend herself and with the whole group agreeing with her, Kelvin realises that he lost and back off.

Plot Changes:
Instead of sitting around, like in the previous chapter, this time they plan to go back to the show grounds and investigate what is going on.

Character Development:

Homer: Acts more mature
Street smart
More sensible
More sense of responsibility

Fiona: Starts to like Homer now
Starts to want to sacrifice necessaries of loved ones and family

Ellie: Is confused about whom she likes, Homer or Lee


Chapter 14:

Ellie, Homer and Fi went back up to Ellie’s house to collect some more supplies (food, clothing, toiletries, tools, bedding, a Bible, etc). Robyn and Ellie read the Bible.

After Ellie, Homer and Fi got back from Wirawee they found Lee had started walking around. Lee and Ellie had some conflict as they talked about their relationship, but Ellie is still confused :P.

Ellie goes for a walk by herself and finds the Hermit’s hut.


Chapter 15:

Everyone was annoyed by each other.
(p191. There was a bit of strain between us now, which I hated and there was a general strain caused by everyone snapping at each other in the final few hours of daylight.)
When Fi and Ellie slept together, Fi said to Ellie that she loved Homer, but he was too 'Greek'.
Fi wanted to get advice from Ellie, but Ellie didn't want to Fi and Homer go well...
At night, Ellie reminded her family and smiled.
Ellie thought that 'Hell is a sad, brooding place but not evil.'
They woke up early and had simple food. They would stay very long in the Hell like 3 months, 6 months two years...
Lee said that he wanted to go Hermit's Hut.
In front of the Hermit's Hut Ellie told Lee about her feeling. She was very stressful because of her feelings.
(p202. But my feelings are that I'm confused.)
Lee said that ..
(p 202. No, I just think that for some things, for example liking someone, for example liking me, you are being too careful and calculating. You should just fo with the feelings.)
Lee wanted to go inside the Hut.
There were many things like reward from a King.
There were photos and newspaper article about murderer.
Also, Lee and Ellie read his story about the murder process(?).

After their inspection of Hermit's hut they kept working into the evening.
Fi sleeps in Ellie's tent while Corrie is away and before they fall into sleep, she
talks to Ellie about her relationship with Homer and if she should try it with Lee.
They get up early and Ellie notice that the longer they stay in hell, the more
they get into natural rhythms their major job that morning is to get fire wood
which they work hard on.
Ellie shows Lee the hermit's hut, they speck about their
relationship and Lee thinks that Ellie should give be with him.
In the hut Lee finds a metal cash box with nothing but papers and photographs.
underneath them was a small blue case, like a wallet, but made of stiffer material.
Lee silently wrapped everything up and replaced it in the tin.
There was too much to absorb, too much to think about.
they left the hut in silence.

Chapter 16:

Chapter sixteen is all of Ellie’s thoughts. Lee and her are possibly boyfriend and girlfriend, also Homer and Fi. Lee and Ellie have visited the Hermits Hut and found important documents from the murder. The whole group have come up with more tactics to keep themselves from the soldiers and getting caught one of them is moving the land rover further away from Hell. The rest of the chapter is Ellies thoughts on Lee and Hell.

Important Quotes
“There were to other documents in the box” Lee and Ellie noticing the documents.
“The last thing was a poem, a simple poem” Ellie been a detective.
“He’s so down on himself” Fi complaining on Homer.
“perhaps my lack of confidence, my tortuous habit of questioning and doubting everything I said or did, was a gift, a good gift, something that made life painful in the short run but in the long run might lead to…what? The mourning of life” Ellie’s thoughts on life.

Significant Events
· Ellie and Lee finding the documents in Hermits Hut.
· Ellie and Fi having a good chat on what lies ahead of them.
· Thinking of other ways of them been unnoticed by soldiers.

Character Developments
· Fi as become more confident and true to her and others that is because she has been around Homer a lot.
· Ellie has taken a part in been a leader along with Homer and Kevin.
· Lee has become a lot stronger now that is leg as stared to heal.

Not much conflict in this chapter I think this is because they have all started working as a team and listen to what the others around them have to say.


Chapter 17:

Robyn, Kevin, Corrie and Chris returned from Wirrawee and after breakfast they tell the others their story. Robyn does most of the talking. She is their unofficial leader and she reports from the situation in Wirrawee. As they were telling the story everyone else was sitting with their partners, while Chris and Robyn were the only ones who weren’t together as a couple. Robyn, Kevin, Corrie and Chris haven’t seen any of their families but been told they were safe at the showground. The soldiers would have been on duty taking some prisoners and the showground back to their homes a habitable place again by cleaning out mould and dead food and pets and to pick up some valuables like jewellery.

Robyn got told by Mr Keogh that the work parties would be going out to the country too, starting any day now to look after the stock and get the farms going again, he said they’re going to colonise the whole country with their own people and all the farms will be split up between them and we’ll just be allowed to do menial jobs like cleaning.

Chris brought back packet of smokes, two bottles of port that he ‘souvenired’ seeing Chrsi smoke made Ellie reflect on what laws they had already broken (stealing, driving without a license, wilful damage, assault, manslaughter or murder etc). Ellie didn’t like the idea of Chris picking up grog (alcohol) and cigarettes. Robyn presents the idea to Ellie writing all these happenings down and Chris wants to know what the other four (Ellie, Lee, Fi and Homer) did in Hell while they were away. Homer says that they must grab some sleep and that they will have a council of war later that afternoon.

Robyn is a quiet leader even in calmer times:
‘Robyn did most of the talking. She’d already been their unofficial leader when they left, and it was interesting to see how much she was running the show now.’

Kevin recommended that they could end up being the nations since they could be the only ones left free so they would be they government and everything. They would all choose their jobs or got given them.

Kevin for Prime Minister, Chris: Police Commissioner, Homer was the Minister for Defence and Chief of the General Staff, Lee was the Pensioner of the Year because of his leg. Robyn wanted to be the Minister of Health but got Archbishop instead. Fi was Attorney General because of her parents and Ellie was named Poet Laureate.

They plan to gather animals, such as ferrets and rabbits for food.

There is conflict in this chapter when Kevin suggested that they have ferrets instead of chooks. Corrie disagrees and says, ‘ “Yuck! They’re disgusting! I hate them.” Kevin looked wounded at this disloyalty from the one person he could normally count on.
“They’re not disgusting,” he said sounding hurt. “They’re clean and they’re intelligent and they’re very friendly.”
“Yeah, so friendly they’ll run up your trouser leg.” ’

Chapter 18:

In this chapter we get to know more about Ellie’s and Lee’s and Homer’s love relationship. We find out who Ellie likes more Lee or Homer. We also learn on how far Ellie and Lee would go with their relationship physically. We hear more about Chris and him smoking. We also find out that Sally and Kevin have been together for a whole year and that Ellie is pretty sure that they have lost their virginity to each other.

In this Chapter we hear Ellie saying “I know this might sound a bit different from what I said before, but I don’t think it is. I can understand why these people have invaded but I don’t like what they’re doing and I don’t think there’s anything very moral about them”. Ellis feels that this war has been forced on them and she hasn’t got the guts to be a conscientious objector. She just hopes that they can all avoid doing too much that’s filthy and foul and rotten.


Chapter 19:


Chapter 20:


“There was a pause then the answer. ‘Yeah I love you too Fi.’ For Homer to say that to anyone was pretty good; for him to say it with Lee and me listening was amazing.”

“I always admired so much about Fi, but now it was her courage I was admiring, instead of her grace and beauty.”

“”We’ve been held up for a bit.’ Fi said. ‘Ellie wanted to climb a tree.’


In this chapter, there is some character development with Homer. He is no longer afraid to say he loves Fi in front of anyone, where in this quote shows this:
“There was a pause then the answer. ‘Yeah I love you too Fi.’ For Homer to say that to anyone was pretty good; for him to say it with Lee and me listening was amazing.”
Fi develops some amount of bravery as she steps up more. She gets much more courage as she takes on some of their tasks.


Ellie and Fi are paired together to go and sort things out/set things up for when they blow up the tank. After getting everything in the correct places, and getting the bikes there so they have time to get away after the tank gets blown up they go to wait. As they got out of their truck after getting all this done, some Patrols came past. They ran over someone’s fence and into their garden and climbed up a gum tree. Ellie soon realized that the truck, filled with things needed for their task to go as planned. If the soldiers were to see this they would automatically realize, and their plan would be ruined. Or If they were spotted in the tree, they would be captured and who knows what would happen. Luckily somehow they did not realize either of the two and they walked off. And they went to prepare everything to blow up the tank, now all they had to do was wait.


The most significant even of this chapter would be when Ellie and Fi spotted some patrols coming so they went and hid up in a tree. whilst the soldiers were very close to their truck. If the soldiers noticed the truck, their whole plan would be ruined. Also, if they were spotted in that tree, they would have been captured or killed which would cause everything to not work.

Chapter 21:

Chapter 22:

Character development
Homer learnt not to put to much trust in machines.
Ellie sees another side or Homer, his sweet side; “The only thing homer left out was the way he had wept when he found out we were safe. I saw the sweetness of Homer then”
Corrie got shot, Kevin shows us his loyal side; “Corrie's my mate and I'm not gonna dump her and run”.
We can see Ellie is accepting more and more that she is in a war, therefore accepting that some of the things she does might have the consequence of someone dying; If I knowingly did things like blowing up bridges, then the fact that by sheer good luck no one was hurt didn't let me off the hook. Once I'd made my decision to go with the tanker i had been ready to live with the consequences, whatever they were.

Significant Events
Ellie and Fi meet Homer and Lee up in a gully behind Fleets place and told there versions of the bridge blowing up.
Went to sleep
Ellie, Homer, Fi and Lee woke up at night, left to Ellie's house on the bikes at 10pm
Walked into Ellie's garage to see Corrie lying still on a table with Chris, Kevin and Robyn crowding around her.
Kevin told Ellie that Corrie had been shot.
Kevin drove Corrie to the Hospital, leaving Lee, Ellie, Robyn, Homer, Fi and Chris to go back into Hell.

Important Quotes
'You would be glad to know' he said turning to me 'that I don't think any of them were hurt'
It meant a lot to me; but not everything
We felt the worst was over and we had done our job and now we deserved a rest. You're sort of bought up to believe that that's the way life should be.
'What are we going to do?'
'We will have to trust them to look afte her. There's no other choice'
'Lets go home' Homer said, 'to Hell'

Kevin to Homer disagreeing with how to get Corrie to the Hospital;'This is going to sound cruel' he said 'but the only thing to do is to take her to the gate of the hospital, abandon the car with Corrie in it, ring the bell, and run like hell. We've got to try and think rationally about it. Seven people are better than six. If we lose not just Corrie, but someone else too, well, it weakens us badly. Not to mention the unpleasant questions that person would have to face.'
Kevin stood. 'No' he said. 'No. I don't give a stuff what's rational and what's logical. Corrie's my mate and I'm not gonna dump her and run. It has to be me or Ellie, and Ellie, if you don't mind, I want it to do it.'


In chapter twenty-two, not only do we get the aftermath of the bridge explosion but we also find out that Corrie gets shot also Kevin and Corrie leave for a dangerous ride to the Hospital. Also we see even more how Ellie is accepting the war and changing to survive. We also learn how brave and loyal Kevin is taking Corrie into town, risking everything to save her life. Chapter twenty-two is a significant chapter as it sums up the story, but leads us to the next book in the series.


 Text Essay!

The two questions for your text essay are.....

 "Tomorrow When The War Began" shows us that war always brings out the worst in you agree?
It is friendship and family and not revenge that provide the motives for the character's actions in "Tomorrow When The War Began". Do you agree?

Semester 2: Year 9 English

In semester 2 we will be looking at John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men". The story details the adventures of Lenny and George, two migrant workers fleeing the tragedy of America's Dust Bowl in the 1930's.


We will be reading the book in and out of class, so you should have the book and start reading it over the break. We will also watching a special TV production from the USA detailing the hardship that was caused by the "Dust Bowl" that swept the southwest of America in the 1930's. If you did not see this special in school, here it is!

While you are watching this, here are some questions you should answer about this time in America's history...


  1. When did "The Dust Bowl" occur?

  2. What caused the dust storms that effected the Southwest of America?

  3. What states were effected?

  4. What did people die of during the dust storms?

  5. What was "the second plague" that effected the region?

  6. What "home cures" did people use to stop from getting sick?

  7. What was "The Last Man Club"?

  8. Where did victims of the Dust Bowl flee to for work?

  9. What caused the towns to die?

  10. What should we learn about caring for the land as a result of the Dust Bowl?

Mice and Men Synopsis and Tasks


Here is a short synopsis of "Mice and Men". Dot point the major events and characters for your notes!



  • Two migrant workers, George and Lennie, have been let off a bus miles away from the California farm where they are due to start work. George is a small, dark man with “sharp, strong features.” Lennie, his companion, is his opposite, a giant of a man with a “shapeless” face. Overcome with thirst, the two stop in a clearing by a pool and decide to camp for the night. As the two converse, it becomes clear that Lennie has a mild mental disability, and is deeply devoted to George and dependent upon him for protection and guidance. George finds that Lennie, who loves petting soft things but often accidentally kills them, has been carrying and stroking a dead mouse. George angrily throws it away, fearing that Lennie might catch a disease from the dead animal. George complains loudly that his life would be easier without having to care for Lennie, but the reader senses that their friendship and devotion is mutual. He and Lennie share a dream of buying their own piece of land, farming it, and, much to Lennie’s delight, keeping rabbits. George ends the night by treating Lennie to the story he often tells him about what life will be like in such an ideallic place.


  • The next day, the men report to the nearby ranch. George, fearing how the boss will react to Lennie, insists that he’ll do all the talking. He lies, explaining that they travel together because they are cousins and that a horse kicked Lennie in the head when he was a child. They are hired. They meet Candy, an old “swamper,” or handyman, with a missing hand and an ancient dog, and Curley, the boss’s mean-spirited son. Curley is newly married, possessive of his flirtatious wife, and full of jealous suspicion. Once George and Lennie are alone in the bunkhouse, Curley’s wife appears and flirts with them. Lennie thinks she is “purty,” but George, sensing the trouble that could come from tangling with this woman and her husband, warns Lennie to stay away from her. Soon, the ranch-hands return from the fields for lunch, and George and Lennie meet Slim, the skilled mule driver who wields great authority on the ranch. Slim comments on the rarity of friendship like that between George and Lennie. Carlson, another ranch-hand, suggests that since Slim’s dog has just given birth, they should offer a puppy to Candy and shoot Candy’s old, good-for-nothing dog.


  • The next day, George confides in Slim that he and Lennie are not cousins, but have been friends since childhood. He tells how Lennie has often gotten them into trouble. For instance, they were forced to flee their last job because Lennie tried to touch a woman’s dress and was accused of rape. Slim agrees to give Lennie one of his puppies, and Carlson continues to badger Candy to kill his old dog. When Slim agrees with Carlson, saying that death would be a welcome relief to the suffering animal, Candy gives in. Carlson, before leading the dog outside, promises to do the job painlessly.


  • Slim goes to the barn to do some work, and Curley, who is maniacally searching for his wife, heads to the barn to accost Slim. Candy overhears George and Lennie discussing their plans to buy land, and offers his life’s savings if they will let him live there too. The three make a pact to let no one else know of their plan. Slim returns to the bunkhouse, berating Curley for his suspicions. Curley, searching for an easy target for his anger, finds Lennie and picks a fight with him. Lennie crushes Curley’s hand in the altercation. Slim warns Curley that if he tries to get George and Lennie fired, he will be the laughingstock of the farm.


  • The next night, most of the men go to the local brothel. Lennie is left with Crooks, the lonely, black stable-hand, and Candy. Curley’s wife flirts with them, refusing to leave until the other men come home. She notices the cuts on Lennie’s face and suspects that he, and not a piece of machinery as Curley claimed, is responsible for hurting her husband. This thought amuses her. The next day, Lennie accidentally kills his puppy in the barn. Curley’s wife enters and consoles him. She admits that life with Curley is a disappointment, and wishes that she had followed her dream of becoming a movie star. Lennie tells her that he loves petting soft things, and she offers to let him feel her hair. When he grabs too tightly, she cries out. In his attempt to silence her, he accidentally breaks her neck.


  • Lennie flees back to a pool of the Salinas River that George had designated as a meeting place should either of them get into trouble. As the men back at the ranch discover what has happened and gather together a lynch party, George joins Lennie. Much to Lennie’s surprise, George is not mad at him for doing “a bad thing.” George begins to tell Lennie the story of the farm they will have together. As he describes the rabbits that Lennie will tend, the sound of the approaching lynch party grows louder. George shoots his friend in the back of the head.


  • When the other men arrive, George lets them believe that Lennie had the gun, and George wrestled it away from him and shot him. Only Slim understands what has really happened, that George has killed his friend out of mercy. Slim consolingly leads him away, and the other men, completely puzzled, watch them leave.


Here is a breakdown of characters for "Of Mice and Men":


Character Profiles

George: George is the story's main protagonist, a small, quick man with well-defined features. A migrant ranch worker, George dreams of one day saving enough money to buy his own place and be his own boss, living off of the land. The hindrance to his objective is his mentally handicapped companion, Lennie, with whom he has traveled and worked since Lennie's Aunt Clara, whom George knew, died. The majority of George's energy is devoted to looking after Lennie, whose blunders prevent George from working toward his dream, or even living the life of a normal rancher. Thus, George's conflict arises in Lennie, to whom he has the ties of long-time companionship that he so often yearns to break in order to live the life of which he dreams. This tension strains George into demonstrating various emotions, ranging from anger to patience to sadness to pride and to hope.


Lennie: George's companion, the source of the novel's conflict. Lennie, enormous, ungainly, and mentally slow, is George's polar opposite both mentally and physically. Lennie's ignorance and innocence and helplessness, his childish actions, such as his desire to pet soft things, contrast his physical bulk, making him likeable to readers. Although devoid of cruel intentions, Lennie's stupidity and carelessness cause him to unwittingly harm animals and people, which creates trouble for both him and George. Lennie is tirelessly devoted to George and delights in hearing him tell of the dream of having a farm, but he does not desire the dream of the American worker in the same way that George does. His understanding of George's dream is more childish and he grows excited at the possibility of tending the future rabbits, most likely because it will afford him a chance to pet their soft hides as much as he wishes. Nevertheless, a dream is a dream, different for everyone, and George and Lennie share the similar attribute of desiring what they haven't got. Lennie, however, is helpless to attain his dream, and remains a static character throughout, relying on George to fuel is hope and save him from trouble.


Candy: The old, one-handed swamper who is the first to befriend George and Lennie at Soledad. Humble and weary, Candy seems to be at the end of his line after Carlson shoots his last possession and companion, his old, blind dog. "When they can me here I wisht somebody'd shoot me" (66), Candy confesses to George and Lennie, hoping for a similar fate as his dog. But when he overhears the two talking of their little place, Candy offers all his money and his meager services to be in on the dream. His substantial sum of money and the fact that he knows of a place make it impossible for George to refuse him. Candy clings to this hope of a future as a drowning man would to a piece of driftwood. It rekindles life within him, but it also becomes an obsession, and in his excitement and indignation, he lets the secret slip to both Crooks and Curley's wife. And when Lennie kills Curley's wife and shatters the reality of the dream, Candy becomes hopeless and full of anguish, the broken shell of a man.


Curley: The boxer, the son of the boss, the angry and hot-headed obstacle to George's attempt to keep Lennie out of trouble at Soledad. Insecure of his size and over-protective of his wife, Curley is eager to fight anyone he perceives as a threat to his self-image. From the outset, Lennie unwittingly incurs Curley's antagonism simply because of his size, and the reader immediately braces for future confrontation. Curley remains undeveloped, forever little and forever mean, poking his head in at various points in the novel, either to look for his wife or to stir up trouble on account of her.


Curley's Wife: Nameless and flirtatious, Curley's wife is perceived by Candy to be the cause of all that goes wrong at Soledad: "Ever'body knowed you'd mess things up. You wasn't no good" (104-105), he says to her dead body in his grief. The workers, George included, see her as having "the eye" for every guy on the ranch, and they cite this as the reason for Curley's insecurity and hot-headed temperament. But Curley's wife adds complexity to her own characterization, confessing to Lennie that she dislikes Curley because he is angry all the time and saying that she comes around because she is lonely and just wants someone with whom to talk. Like George and Lennie, she once had a dream of becoming an actress and living in Hollywood, but it went unrealized, leaving her full of self-pity, married to an angry man, living on a ranch without friends, and viewed as a trouble-maker by everyone.


Crooks: Called such because of a crooked spine, Steinbeck does not develop Crooks, the Negro stable buck, until the fourth chapter, describing him as a "proud, aloof man. He kept his distance and demanded that other people keep theirs" (74). Crooks is bitter, indignant, angry, and ultimately frustrated by his helplessness as a black man in a racist culture. Wise and observant, Crooks listens to Lennie's talk of the dream of the farm with cynicism. Although tempted by Candy, Lennie, and George's plan to buy their own place, Crooks is constantly reminded (in this case by Curley's wife) that he is inferior to whites and, out of pride, he refuses to take part in their future farm.


Slim: The tall, jerkline skinner whom Steinbeck describes as something of a living legend: "he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen. He was a jerkline skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders. He was capable of killing a fly on the wheeler's butt with a bull whip without touching the mule. There was gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. . . His hatchet face was ageless. He might have been thirty-fice or fifty. HIs ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought" (37). Slim lingers in the shadow of his overwhelming description throughout the novel. He serves as the fearless, decision-maker when conflicts arise among the workers and wins the confidence of George, offering advice, comfort, and quiet words of wisdom.

Facts on the Dust Bowl.


The Dust Bowl was the name given to the Great Plains region devastated by drought in 1930s depression-ridden America. The 150,000-square-mile area, encompassing the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles and neighboring sections of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, has little rainfall, light soil, and high winds, a potentially destructive combination. When drought struck from 1934 to 1937, the soil lacked the stronger root system of grass as an anchor, so the winds easily picked up the loose topsoil and swirled it into dense dust clouds, called “black blizzards.” Recurrent dust storms wreaked havoc, choking cattle and pasture lands and driving 60 percent of the population from the region. Most of these “exodusters” went to agricultural areas first and then to cities, especially in the Far West.


Ranchers and farmers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, driven by the American agricultural ethos of expansion and a sense of autonomy from nature, aggressively exploited the land and set up the region for ecological disaster. Most early settlers used the land for livestock grazing until agricultural mechanization combined with high grain prices during World War I enticed farmers to plow up millions of acres of natural grass cover to plant wheat.


Did You Know?

By 1940, more than 2.5 million people had fled from the regions affected by the Dust Bowl. Nearly 10 percent moved to California.


In response, the federal government mobilized several New Deal agencies, principally the Soil Conservation Service formed in 1935, to promote farm rehabilitation. Working on the local level, the government instructed farmers to plant trees and grass to anchor the soil, to plow and terrace in contour patterns to hold rainwater, and to allow portions of farmland to lie fallow each year so the soil could regenerate. The government also purchased 11.3 million acres of submarginal land to keep it out of production. By 1941 much of the land was rehabilitated, but the region repeated its mistakes during World War II as farmers again plowed up grassland to plant wheat when grain prices rose. Drought threatened another disaster in the 1950s, prompting Congress to subsidize farmers in restoring millions of acres of wheat back to grassland.


The Dust Bowl prompted a cultural response from artists like Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Steinbeck, who lamented the American economic ethos that had created the disaster. To them, the Dust Bowl signified the final destruction of the old Jeffersonian ideal of agrarian harmony with nature.


The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.











Assignment Task!


Of Mice and Men


Learning Intention

The learning intention is to understand “how” John Steinbeck creates characters and uses them to develop ideas. You need to know what happens but - more importantly - why Steinbeck made it happen. Everything that happens has to relate to a Steinbeck’s message for the readers.


Success Criteria

  • Thinking

  • Full sentences

  • Use of evidence from the text (quotations, discussing specific moments)

  • Discussing writing style

  • Thinking about the reader

  • Understanding changes and constants

  • Understanding key terms (blue highlights)

Messages and Ideas

  • Binary Opposition. Power struggles between: men and women, kind and cruel, black and white, rich and poor, intelligent and unintelligent, young and old, confident and insecure, success and failure, abled and disabled

  • The inevitability of problems

  • The need for love, companionship, reassurance, support

  • Dreams and goals

Chapter 1

How does the opening establish the themes of the novel? How does Steinbeck establish the relationship between George and Lennie? Which events does Steinbeck foreshadow?

Chapters 2 and 3

CANDY (the old swamper)

What does Candy represent?


How does he represent power?


How does Steinbeck position us to hate Curley? How does he position readers to enjoy the destruction of Curley’s hand?


What kind of readers would connect with Carlson? Why? Who might dislike him?


Why do we like Slim?


How is Whit the epitome of youthful hedonism?


Chapter 4


How does Crooks offer an insight into:

  • the human condition (our needs and wants)

  • Racism?

  • Workers’ dreams?

  • Attitudes towards disabilities?

Chapter 4 and 5


How does Curley’s wife offer an insight into:

  • Workers’ dreams?

  • Marriage?

  • Attitudes towards gender?

  • Power?

How does Steinbeck depict her death?

Who might be offended by Steinbeck’s depiction of “Curley’s wife”? Why?

Chapter 5


What is most terrifying about Lennie? Why do you feel this way?

Chapter 6


How have events throughout the novel positioned us to support George’s decision to kill Lennie? Who might reject this justification?

Holiday Readers

Students who have read the text before we do as a class will get a lot out of a second reading. For those students, you should start taking notes for the final questions as we read. When answering any question, think about the novel as a whole rather than looking at the chapter in isolation.

Here is the BBC Radio Play

Here is the full audio book, free on youtube. Open your book and read along!!!!!!

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