Tom Brown is energetic, stubborn, kind-hearted and athletic, rather than intellectual. He follows his feelings and the unwritten rules of the boys. His first school year is at a local school. His second year starts at a private school, but due to an epidemic of fever in the area, all the school's boys are sent home, and Tom is transferred mid-term to Rugby School. The book is set in the 1830s and Tom, a country squire’s son, is sent to Rugby School. Tom is initially anxious to fit in and good at sport, but also mischievous, and reckless. The book is famous for the accounts of the bully Flashman, who roasts Tom and his friend Harry East in front of a fire, and the pious George Arthur who gradually introduces the civilising influence of religion into Tom’s dormitory. Rugby’s famous headmaster Dr Thomas Arnold appears as ‘the Doctor’.