Character profile for Corrie Mackenzie from the
Tomorrow series by John Marsden
Note: As always these are just my opinions and thus
subject to change at any time. If you disagree, think I have missed
something, or have something to add, please use the link at the
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blows plot of the first 4 books
Please don't read on if this concerns you
Corrie Mackenzie is a tragedy.
Ellie's best mate, we barely start to get to know
her before she is wiped away. Struck down by a random bullet, fired
by soldiers they never even saw, then left by the enemy, largely
untreated, to die a slow and needless death. Tragic, pointless,
All those years of growing, of being cared for and
nurtured. All those future hopes. Wiped away by a random act of
violence in an instant, of less concern to the people who did it
than one of their own's twisted ankle. (1)
Discovering her grave becomes one of the hammer blows
that breaks Ellie's compassion, one of the blows that finally sends
her over the edge, tumbling her and the others into disaster in
"The Other Side of Dawn".
So who is Corrie Mackenzie ?
Corrie is Ellie's very best friend, her mate, whom
she had done everything with since she was a toddler and who she
plans on doing everything with when they leave school. Corrie is
a plump faced redhead girl, very close to Ellie's age, who used
to severely lacked in confidence. She had advanced in leaps and
bounds since Kevin had become her boyfriend. "... but I
still thought he was the best thing that had ever happened in Corrie's
life because before she started going round with him she was too
quite and unnoticed. They used to talk a lot at school, and then
she'd tell me what a sensitive caring guy he was. Although I couldn't
always see that myself, I could see the way she was starting to
get much more confident from going with him, and I liked that."
Corrie and Ellie talk a lot and whenever Ellie has
a problem she will turn to Corrie for support. Such as when Lee
talks to Ellie about he and she. Fi is there to talk to but while
she has Corrie, all Ellie can think is "I wished Corrie
was there, so I could go and talk to her about" (3).
While on their camping trip into Hell they talk about the future
and plan to travel overseas together after school. "Corrie
had this idea that she'd have a look at everything, come home, do
nursing, then go back and work in the country that needed nurses
most. I admired her for that. I was more interested in making money."
Corrie's determination also should not be under-estimated.
When battling to find a way into Hell, Corrie had been one of the
"Finally Corrie said, 'There might be a chance if we wriggle
through here. We might be able to get around the side somewhere.'
The gap she'd picked was so narrow we had to take our packs off
to get through it, but I was game, so I took Corrie's pack while
she wrestled her way into a prickly overgrown hole. Her head disappeared,
then her back, then her legs. I heard Kevin say, 'This is crazy',
then Corrie said, 'OK, now my pack', so I pushed that through after
her. Then, leaving Robyn to look after my pack, I followed."
Then talking about traveling overseas and getting
permission from parents Corrie says:
"Mmm. My dad's not bad. I've been educating him".
I smiled. A lot of people underestimated Corrie. She just quietly
worked away on people till she got what she wanted." (6)
Nor is she a wimp. When they find a snake in Homer's
sleeping bag and it bursts out, enraged, Ellie returns to the campsite
from her flight to find:
"Corrie was intelligently at the fire and using it for protection;...
'Where is it?' I yelled.
'It went that was,' said Corrie, pointing into the bush. 'It chased
me, but when I got here I jumped over the fire and it veered away.'
For someone who'd just been chased by a frenzied snake she seemed
the calmest of us all." (7)
She is, however, greatly effected by what has happened.
"The image I'll always remember from Corrie's place is of Corrie
standing alone in the middle of the sitting room. tears streaming
down her face. Then Kevin came in from checking the bedrooms, saw
her, and moving quickly to her took her in his arms and held her
close. They just stood there for quite a few minutes. I liked Kevin
a lot for that" (8)
then in the tree house at her place, after Ellie had
killed for the first time
"'I wonder where they all are now,' Corrie said. 'I hope
they are at the showground. I hope they're OK. It's all I can think
about. I keep remembering all the stories we read in History about
World War Two and Kampuchea and stuff like that, and my brain just
overloads on terror. And then I think about the way those soldiers
were shooting at us, and the way they screamed when the mower blew
and again, when the jet destroys her house:
"Corrie gave a cry that I'll never forget, like a wounded bird.
One rocket hit the house ...
Corrie was on the floor, hiccupping, and thrashing around like a
fish on a line. Her pupils had rolled back so far into her head
that you couldn't see them any more. Nothing could calm her. We
became frightened. Homer ran and got a bucket of water. We splashed
some on her face. It seemed to calm her a bit. I picked up the whole
bucket and tipped the water over her head. She stopped hiccupping
and just sobbed, her head on her knees, her hands clasped around
her ankles, water dripping off her, but it was hours before she
calmed enough to even look at us. We just had to stay there and
wait, hoping the planes would not come back, hoping they would not
send soldiers in trucks. Corrie would not move and we could not
move until she did." (10)
But in the end, Corrie does not let her fear stop
her. She is driven by concern for her family "'It's our
own families,' said Corrie. 'That's what everyone's worried about,
isn't it ? I guess I'd fight for my country but I'm going mad wondering
what's happened to my family'" (11)
She makes her choice:
"'I won't pretend the thought doesn't scare the skin off
me,' Corrie said softly. 'But it's what we have to do. We'll never
sleep again at night if we don't.'" (12)
and she pays the price for her decision, within the
week she is shot through the back and unconscious. She never regains
consciousness and dies, a prisoner, months later.
One of the most moving passages in the "Tomorrow"
series is Ellie describing he first sight of Corrie's grave, all
those months later. You can feel Ellie's heart being crushed by
This passage covers several pages and I can't do it
justice here. Its in "Darkness, Be My Friend",
Chapter 16, pages 179-184. Go and read it.
In some ways you can say Ellie survived this, but
in some others you can say that is not the case at all.
1) "The Third Day, the Frost",
Ch 7, p68.
2) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 1, p14.
3) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 14, p183.
4) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 5, p46.
5) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 2, p26.
6) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 5, p46.
7) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 4, p37.
8) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 7, p71.
9) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 9, p106.
10) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 9, p119/120.
11) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 13, p172.
12) "Tomorrow, When the War Began",
Ch 13, p174.