Tom's Midnight Garden

by Phillipa Pierce

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Topics for Discussion

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1. In the opening chapter Tom seems sullen and selfish, even rude. Why does the reader feel sympathy for him?

2. What significance does Tom find in the grandfather clock's striking of the thirteenth hour?

3. Why does Abel fear trouble for Hatty when Tom helps her make the bow and arrows?

4. What is Abel's attitude toward Tom? What part does his religious fervor play in forming that attitude?

5. How does Tom resolve in his own mind that troubling issue of whether he or Hatty is actually a ghost?

6. Hatty tells Tom a pretend story about being a princess in captivity. In what ways does she actually succeed, as Tom says, in making "this garden a kind of kingdom"?

7. Tom tells his brother Peter all about the garden and Hatty, but he never mentions his adventures to his aunt and uncle, not even at the end of the book when he must return home. Why does he never tell them anything about it?

8. Why is Uncle Alan so upset when Tom mentions the angel from Revelation in connection with theories of time? How does this episode reflect the fundamental differences between the boy and his uncle?

9. How is it possible that Peter enters one of the dreams shared by Tom and Hatty?

10. Does the ending come as a surprise or should the careful reader be prepared for it? Is it a satisfactory ending?

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