Tom’s Midnight Garden

1536 Words7 Pages
Time is one of the basic components of life that one does not often stop to dwell upon. Each second marks a transition in an individual’s life, but it is rare for someone to consider the true magic of this small measure of history. In Tom’s Midnight Garden, Philippa Pearce examines the concept of time in a truly unique manner as she tells the story of a child who comes to terms with time in an extraordinary manner. As Pearce crafts this beautiful yet simply written novel, she intertwines both a moving plot and universal ideas in order to reveal more than meets the eye in terms of the power of time. The novel revolves around a young boy by the name of Tom Long who, in an adverse situation is shipped away from his home to live with his childless Uncle and Aunt for the summer. While Tom is disgruntled by the notion, he comes to adjust his views when he discovers a magical garden that opens his eyes to new experiences and feelings. With the discovery of this mysterious world in the garden, Tom is forced to decipher the power of time, companionship, and imagination and through this journey, he evolves from the childish, inconsiderate young boy he once was into one with a more mature and sensitive outlook on his own life and the world as a whole.

The novel opens with a scene of a desperate, aggravated child being sent away from his home due to a contagious disease. Tom Long’s brother Peter has been stricken with a case of the measles and to protect Tom, his parents have decided it would be best for him to spend the upcoming weeks with his Uncle Alan and Aunt Gwen as Peter recovers. From the onset, it is obvious to the reader that Tom is extremely displeased with the notion of leaving not only his family and home, but also the ...

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... eventually realizes it can only temporarily satiate his desire for knowledge and friendship, and that eventually, he like all other people, must grow up and move on to new passions and explorations. The entire book in fact returns to this idea many times as Tom has to grapple with the meaning and importance of time. In the same way that Tom must solve the problems he faces, all people must learn to answer the seemingly unanswerable questions of life. At some point or another, we all face situations that seem impossible, but as Tom comes to learn there is always a reason or some explanation for the route life takes. As Tom constantly questions the concept of time and reality versus imagination, we too must ask the same questions for, as Pearce asks many times throughout the novel, “What is time?” (Pearce 168) and how can the seemingly impossible really happen?
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