Tom's Midnight Garden

by Phillipa Pierce

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Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden is quite moving and heartwarming. Discuss with reference to the novel.

Philippa Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden is moving and heartwarming because it tells the story of an unlikely friendship and how it changed a summer for a lonely boy. The themes of hope and friendship combine to create a poignant tale.

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I would argue that Tom's Midnight Garden is a moving and heartwarming tale. It also has elements of a Bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel.

In the early stages of the story, Tom is lonely and homesick, having been sent to live at his aunt and uncle's apartment because his brother back home has the measles. He knows no one of his own age, and the scene seems set for a miserable summer. Everything changes when he discovers a secret garden, only accessible late at night, where he meets Hatty, a Victorian girl who becomes his friend. The fact that the characters are lifelike and relatable adds to the novel's poignancy.

Hatty is as lonely as Tom is, and both begin to live for the hours they can spend together when the clock strikes thirteen. The transformation that Hatty brings in Tom is remarkable, and it means that even when his brother is well enough for him to go home, Tom doesn't want to go anywhere.

This novel tugs on heartstrings with the realization that Hatty is aging faster than Tom and becomes even more heartwarming when the reader realizes that Hatty is in fact Mrs. Bartholomew, his uncle's neighbor to whom he is sent to apologize for disturbing the peace with his sleepwalking. In this way, the story comes full circle, and Tom comes face to face, once again, with his friend.

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