Tom's Midnight Garden

by Phillipa Pierce

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Discuss the theme of nature and companionship in Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pierce.

Quick answer:

The themes of nature and companionship prevail in this novel through Tom's discovery of a "midnight garden" in his dull surroundings and of a playmate, Hatty, whom he can relate to despite the two being from different eras.

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Nature and companionship are very important themes in this novel, as they are the things that transform Tom’s time staying with his aunt and uncle from being an unwanted exile to an adventure that he gets to share with a friend.

The element of nature is introduced when Tom discovers a mysterious enclosed garden that appears after midnight when the clock strikes thirteen. Up until this point, Tom has spent his time cooped up in an apartment with no garden, and he’s so bored and lacking in exercise that he can’t sleep at night. Having been trapped in an apartment, we can imagine Tom’s delight at discovering this “midnight garden” complete with sunshine, a sundial, and a companion. In a nutshell, nature transports Tom from boredom to delight.

I would argue that companionship is even more important to Tom than nature, and it is his friendship with Hatty that makes him reticent to return home even when his brother is better. With Hatty in his life, Tom’s times in the midnight garden are idyllic, and the two remain close even though each of Tom’s nightly visits occurs at a later moment in Hatty’s life. Even when she meets her future husband, the two remain fast friends and seem to tell each other everything.

This theme of nature and companionship is imbibed with magic. The midnight garden is a magical world in which Tom gets to forget the boredom and frustration of his real life and spend time in a world where childhood is idyllic and life is perfect.

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