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A study guide to

Tomorrow, When the War Began

A novel by John Marsden


‘While Ellie and her friends are away in the bush, the world changes. Suddenly they are in the toughest situations humans can confront, facing life and death decisions. They are thrown into a world where they find courage, initiative, spirit and wisdom … or they die’

Chapters 1 – 2

1. How is the writer (Ellie) feeling in the opening 4 paragraphs of the novel? Is she confident? Nervous? Explain how you can tell.
2. ‘biting the bullet’ – is this an example of assonance or alliteration?
3. When did ‘it’ all begin?
4. ‘Then you grow up’ – What does she mean? In what way does your perception about things change as you get older? List some examples in your explanation.
5. Why do you think she ‘wanted to believe in his existence’ (4)?
6. Who went on the camping trip?
7. In what ways are Robyn and Homer different?
8. In a table, list all of the characters mentioned in the opening chapters and list one character trait for that person and where we see it evident so far.
9. Who drove the Landrover?
10. ‘And on the other side was Hell’ – Why would an author name a location in their novel Hell? What types of feelings might the author want the audience to have about that place? How did you feel reading the sentence?
11. What is ‘Hell’?
12. ‘The look on her face was almost frightening’ (28). Draw her expression in your exercise book.


crowded, better, surprisingly, concentric, terribly, serious, feral, arête, awkward, immediately, authority, humourous, magistrate, priming, tabbouli, discrimination, grunt, beautiful, occasional, satisfied, rationalized, failure, sheer, vegetation, stubborn, altitude, energy

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