Tom's Midnight Garden

by Phillipa Pierce

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1. Pearce uses symbolic objects with great effect in Tom's Midnight Garden. How do the Gothic barometer, the grandfather clock, and the ice skates function as symbols?

2. Tom's Midnight Garden is a highly original time fantasy. During the course of the narrative, what views of time are expressed? What does Tom learn about the nature of time through his adventures in the magical garden?

3. The close reader may notice several hints during the novel about the eventual importance of old Mrs. Bartholomew as a character. What are these hints? Where and when does she appear significantly?

4. Hatty is depicted as a solitary child, partly because she is an orphan living with three older male cousins. How does she become friends with Tom, and what kinds of activities do they enjoy sharing in the garden?

5. Dreams are important in this novel. One of the interesting ideas offered is the possibility of shared dreams. What is there in Tom's personality that makes him receptive to Mrs. Bartholomew's dreams?

6. Some critics have argued that the "magic" is a Garden of Eden, a symbol of Tom's and Hatty's innocence, and that is why they must leave it as they grow up. Do you agree or disagree?

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