Michelle Doody

Reflection/Self Assessment

Good Night, Mr. Tom




            As I read Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian, I was filled with anger, disgust, happiness and wonder.  I am a person who has intense empathy for others who are put into situations that they have no control over.  I especially feel for children who have to face situations in life that adults would have a hard time coping with.  In the story, Willie who is a nine-year-old boy has lived his life with a mother who is both mentally and physically abusive.  The story takes place at the beginning of World War II in Europe.  As terrible as war is, the ironic part of it is that although many people lost their lives in the war, Willieís life was saved by it. 

My emotional roller coaster began when I first opened the book and read page one.  I was so angry with Willieís mother that she let her scared nine-year-old boy leave her to live with a stranger.  I felt so bad for Willie, and I thought that his shy behavior was due to the fact that he was in such an awkward situation at such a young age.  As I read on, I realized that Willie was actually better off living with Tom.  By the time I read page eleven of the book, my anger deepened and the disgust set in.  I realized that Willie was not shy because he was in a strange personís house, but he was petrified that Tomís beatings were going to be worse than his mothers.  As a result of Willieís constant beatings by his mother, he thought that all adults hit children.  His shyness centered on the fact that Tom was bigger than his mother and that the beatings would be far worse in Tomís house. 

As the book progressed, I was so happy to see Tom and Willie growing to trust and depend on each other.  I visualized Willieís face when he had his first birthday party, when he was called a friend for the first time, when he was complimented on his artistic abilities, and when he was referred to as a friend for the first time.  All of theses experiences were so touching and I wanted to celebrate for Willie, but in my heart, I knew that the worst was yet to come.  I just wasnít sure how bad it was going to be, and my worst fear came true when Willie was sent back to his mother to take care of her.  I was so sick to my stomach at the events that followed Willieís return home.  I could not believe that any person could do this to their child.  I couldnít put the book down until I found out that he was safe.  Once Tom came and kidnapped him, I knew that everything would eventually turn back to normal. 

It was nice to see that Tom had the knowledge to let Willie know that it was all right to be angry and to scream in order to let your anger out.  At this point, I knew that Willie was going to survive his abuse and the loss of his friend.  I began to wonder how is it that some children are survivors of child abuse while others continue the viscous cycle and become abusers themselves.  I understand that Tom saved Willie and he was taught how to deal with his anger and resentment and this helped him recover, but what about other children who just canít recover no matter how much therapy they receive.  I know that I am not an expert in this field, but reading this book made me want to learn more about how some children survive abuse and learn to trust others while other children never learn to trust anyone.




            I decided to create a power point in order to convey the emotions that I went through in certain parts of this book.  I chose monumental moments in Willieís life that provoked these feeling that I experienced while reading the book.  I chose some of my backgrounds to be a picture of the moon and a picture of the sun because it represents darkness and light.  I feel that Willie was living in darkness with his mother and it wasnít until he moved in with Tom that he was able to live a normal life of nine-year-old.


Introduction slide:  I chose to keep my introduction slide simple yet spooky.  The full moon symbolizes fear to me.  I feel that William has lived a life of fear due to his motherís monstrous treatment. 


Slide 2:  I kept the full moon as a background because it still represents a scary time in Williamís life.  He is faced with the fear of leaving his home and entering a strangerís house.


Slide 3:  In this slide, I put the sun as a background because it represents happiness and life to me.  At this part of the story, Willie is finally learning how to be happy.  He realizes that Mr. Tom is not going to beat him and that Mr. Tom is helping him grow emotionally and intellectually.  Willie has really started trusting Tom and believing in himself.  He no longer looks at himself as a bad child.


Slide 4:  In slide four I put the moon in the background again because Willie was very upset that he was put in the baby classroom.  He was separated from his friends and he feels stupid.  I really felt bad for him because he was so ashamed that he couldnít read, he thought that his friends were going to make fun of him.  I was relieved to see that the exact opposite happened and his friends supported and encouraged him instead.


Slide 5:  I chose to create a slide that represented a celebration for this slide.  This was really a turning point in Willieís life.  It was so touching to read about him experiencing his first birthday party.  I was very moved by this celebration that they planned for Willie. 


Slide 6:  Another wonderful moment in Willieís life was when he learned how to read and was rewarded for his hard work by being out into a higher-level class where all of his friends were.  This was such a wonderful experience for him.  With the help of Tom, he was able to accomplish something that he never thought that he could.  At this point in the story, Willie finally believed in himself, and he is learning so much.  He had truly found inner happiness.


Slide 7:  I chose to keep this slide simple because it represents a horrible spooky feeling that I got when I learned that Willie was going to have to return home to his mother.  I knew at this point that something horrible was going to happen.  I chose the writing to be red because it represents death, and I felt that Willie was going to be beaten to death by his mother when he arrived home and she saw the changes in him.

Slide 8:  In this slide, I tried to represent the empathy that I felt for Willie when I was reading the story.  I was so sick to my stomach and became very angry at what his mother was doing to him. 


Slide 9:  In this slide, I put in people whom I consider to be heroes.  Tom saved Willieís life by finding him and kidnapping him.  I wanted to represent the feelings that I had for Tomís heroic actions in this chapter.  Although Willie went through a lot when he lost Zach, I wanted to end the presentation here because this is where I was able to see that Willie was going to be fine, and that he would be able to overcome the abuse from his mother and he would continue to grow emotionally and physically with the help of Tom.