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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