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This website is dedicated to the memory of Jessica Lincoln Smith, a John Marsden fan.
Lost tragically at 26, but never to be forgotten.

Corrie Mackenzie

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 bottom of the page to send me a note.

WARNING: Partially 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, senseless, maddening.

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." (2)

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." (4)

Corrie's determination also should not be under-estimated. When battling to find a way into Hell, Corrie had been one of the leaders:
"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."

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"

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 up'" (9)

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."

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 it.

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.

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