The Home Front Project Part 8 – Goodnight Mr Tom

From the film Goodnight Mr. Tom you can get a view of life on the Home Front.

goodnight mr tom

The village featured relied heavily on radio. This shows that this was a main way for the Government to send messages to the masses as in the beginning of the film, a group from the village gather around a radio in church to hear the news that Britain was at war with Germany.

It also shows that going to church was an important part of rural life as all the villagers are shown going frequently to church to listen to services and sing. This shows that villages were very communal and everybody was quite close.

Men from all over are seen passing through the village in army gear in army trucks. This shows that people from all over the country went into the army, and it was also younger and older men who went willingly at first.

The film portrays some of the people in the village being reluctant to take in evacuated children. They were forced into it and had no choice even if they didn’t want the child at first. This suggests that because of the war, a lot of personal freedoms could be taken away from you.

Religion is shown as an important way of life at that time because William’s mother wrote a letter insisting he was with a religious person or was placed near the church. The letter also stated that it didn’t matter who that person was showing some parents had more concern about their child’s beliefs in there upbringing rather than the suitability of the person taking care of them.

Evacuees are shown to be scared, confused and upset from being separated from their parents as they don’t all look happy leaving on the train to the village, and seem confused by the different way of life when they get there.

Some food is seen to be similar as for diner they often are seen to have some version of a fry up and for breakfast they have toast or cereal which is what we often have nowadays.

The house where Tom lives has lots of old furniture, there are many decorative plates and other items on display in cabinets or on the walls, the house is basically a cottage with lots of beaming showing, the style of windows are different from those we often have in modern buildings.  This shows our ways of life have changed a lot in 60 years.

The film suggests a lot of children in the larger towns and cities have never seen certain animals in real life before because when William first goes to the new village, he is scared of a dog there and runs away. This shows that unlike today, where a lot of people have some kind of pet, and where most young people have been to a zoo before, it wasn’t like that in those days.

The way we dress has also dramatically changed in the last 2-3 generations. For example, young boys are seen wearing shirts, a pullover, shorts and long socks with boots, but nowadays, young boys would definitely not be seen wearing that sort of clothing in that combination outside of re-enactments of ww2.


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