Tommo and His Relationship with His Brother
In the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, it becomes highly noticeable that Tommo shows admiration for his brother and finds out his actions influence his own life. Tommo’s adoration for Charlie impacts his characteristics throughout events in his life, changing him as an individual, which he later realises that he is capable of being independent and brave, like Charlie. However, Tommo also notices the unfaithful sides of Charlie, which leaves him feeling abandoned. The deep love Charlie shows towards his brother, effects Tommo as a character, making him want to be more courageous like Charlie. This novel shows the love between two brothers and the development of Tommo as an individual.
Tommo admires and commends Charlie for not only confronting but also defying authority. Charlie is a strong and heroic figure in Tommo’s life. When Tommo nervously sets off to school for the first time, Charlie takes him by the hand and reassures him that all will be alright.“Anyway I’ll always look after you… he always has… comforting me, protecting me” (10) Charlie has repeatedly looked after Tommo throughout his life, this boosts Tommo’s self-esteem as he knows there will always be someone there by his side comforting and leading him through tough experiences. Both of the brothers are protective of their older brother Joe and have no respect for anyone who treats him disrespectfully. “I am so proud of him for that. I have the bravest brother in the world” (24) Charlie is selfless and not afraid to stand up to what he believes is right. Tommo respects Charlie and his often courageous choices that revolve around his loved ones. He feels proud and lucky to have an older brother like Charlie. Tommo recognises and admires Charlie’s choices that benefit others rather than himself, making his a good role model for Tommo to look up to.
The brotherhood bond is tested as Tommo finds Charlie’s actions being hurtful and he sees a disloyal side of him when he is not making a decision that will benefit and be fair for them both. When Molly and Charlie get moved up a level in school because they are older than Tommo. “I knew at once that this was different. As I watched them I felt a sudden ache in my heart…a pang of loss, of deep grief” (55) Tommo feels abandoned, that things were changing and they were no longer a trio, but rather just Charlie and Molly. When Molly’s pregnancy is announced, Tommo is in a source of pain rather than happiness for his growing family. “In the next room slept the two people I most loved in all the world who, in finding each other, had deserted me” (92) Tommo knew they both had feelings for each other. Tommo was even the messenger for their love letters, yet Tommo’s trust for Charlie reduces from this action and will never be forgotten. When Charlie leaves home from the war after his wounded leg, he feels betrayed by the amount of happiness Charlie shows from their separation. ‘We’d stuck together through thick and thin, and now he was breaking the bond between us, and deserting me’ (pg146) Although, Charlie sees this event as a benefit for his health and wellbeing, Tommo sees it as a break of their close relationship. He was drowning in anger at the thought of his brother abandoning him. Despite the fact of feeling betrayed by his own brother, Tommo and Charlie try to overcome difficult situations that occur between them, as they don’t want to see each other getting hurt because they love one another and they have been through enough.
Tommo always follows in Charlie’s footsteps, which could potentially lead to trouble as Charlie is well-known for his brave, rebellious behaviour. It is also seen when Charlie was stirring Hanley up unnecessarily and was making things difficult for everyone else. Charlie doesn’t always think of the consequences of what he is doing, even if he believes he is doing the right thing. Charlie’s actions, not only affect him but also everyone else, especially Tommo. “Charlie was swiping at the wasp, and the wasp wasn’t just stinging him, he was stinging all of us” (115) Tommo tries to stop and warns him, but Charlie always turns it on Tommo and tries to protect him, instead of thinking about himself and his actions and where they will lead him. Before Charlie gets shot, Charlie tries to protect Tommo, from the sadness when he leaves, he tries to reassure and comfort him. “Charlie managed to smile through it all” (127) This influences Tommo to become a positive person, even through hardships life brings. Charlie influences Tommo’s behaviour as they’re always together and stirs up trouble for Tommo when he doesn’t need it, but Charlie will always be the optimistic person that Tommo knows and has grown up with.
Tommo sees himself as being plagued by fear. Tommo is under the delusion that having the self-assurance to confront a person or problem is equivalent to bravery, especially as this is the mode that Charlie’s bravery takes. Tommo wanted to go to war to prove himself and to step out of his comfort zone. He desired to be as courageous as Charlie and he didn’t want to be labelled a coward. “the truth was that I wasn’t sure…I needed to find out. I had to prove myself to myself” (103) All his life, Tommo never stopped doubting himself. Having Charlie, a brave figure in his life, Tommo was influenced to be like him and show how strong and fearless he was, even though he was willing to risk his life in war, to prove himself. Charlie was shot for what was believed to be cowardice, although he was just trying to protect and comfort his injured Tommo life, risking his own. He had so many dreams to fulfil and a family to take care of, but Tommo takes these responsibilities as his own. “All I know is I must survive, I have promises to keep” (pg185) Tommo has committed his life to help Charlie fulfil his dream to be a good, son, brother, husband and father. As the war continues he has promised to finish fighting for his country, then continue to help his family for the better, like Charlie had done. Tommo’s respect for Charlie changes him for the better, yet Tommo finds himself and realises that he doesn’t always need Charlie to make his own choices and be an accountable person.
Charlie shows moral support, affection and comfort towards Tommo throughout his entire life. From time to time Tommo feels let down as his brother performs selfish acts that make him feel angry and guilty. Many acts in Charlie’s life, good or bad, are absorbed by Tommo and can be visible in the future. Later on in his life, Tommo realises that he doesn’t always need Charlie, as he can be independent and brave just like him and can continue the family morals, even with Charlie out of his life. It becomes highly apparent that Tommo’s idolisation for Charlie affects him as an individual throughout his life.
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