“So, what lies ahead of primary school graduation? High school, sure. But what else? I’m going to make new friends, get new teachers, and have a whole new life! The homework will probably quadruple, and it’ll be really intimidating. Older kids, bigger responsibilities, it’ll be like going back to prep!” Sally yelled at her mum, frustrated about leaving school. It was the night of her graduation- she had spilled black current juice on her once white dress, her hair was refusing to go into place and she had a huge pimple on her forehead. The night was going terribly already!
“No way.” I whispered, my breath visible in the cold winter’s morning. 2 huge footprints were in the grass, creating 2 deep holes. There were only 2 prints, so I knew it couldn’t be an animal. But surely there couldn’t be a human alive with feet that big! So if it wasn’t an animal, nor a human, what could it be? I looked around the park and crouched down on the dew covered grass, feeling the dirt. That’s when I heard footsteps behind me. Loud, booming footsteps. My sunlight was blocked by a huge shadow. I turned to look behind me and saw……….
As my mum watered our garden and my younger sister played her squeaky violin, I sat on the sofa, the scarlet cushions surrounding me. I sat waiting, for the time when something special would happen to me. Something that would take me away from my annoying sister, and my bossy, overprotective mum. Something that would present me with an opportunity, an opportunity so huge that not even my mother could prevent me from taking. The day that my dad asked me to move in with him. Away from the crying of my delusional mother, towards a slightly less insane father.
There was someone living in the cave. A campfire was set up, and a flame was burning, slowly eating away at the bark. I couldn’t see anyone in there. I decided to look. I pushed past the bushes that surrounded the entrance. A twig snapped under my foot, and suddenly everything went dark in the cave. The campfire had been extinguished. Immediately, I was scared. My heart started to beat faster. I heard footsteps, not mine, coming towards me. I turned around, ready to run the way I had come. But hands grabbed my shoulders, and I was dragged away.
It just hovered there. The ball of light. We didn’t know what it was, or why it was there. All we knew was that we were scared. We didn’t know where we were, or how we got there. My little sister clutched my arm as the ball started to move towards us. Closer and closer, faster and faster. Suddenly, it lurched forwards. As is came rushing towards us we dove out of the way, bashing into the surrounding rocks. Then it was gone. It just disappeared into thin air. I sighed, trying to cover up my scratches from the rocks.
I found it interesting when Ambrose mentioned that Laurie is a young kid because he uses crayons and a see saw. That is true, although, you could have said that you inferred that. I also think it was good how you said that Laurie wants attention to make friends because that is true in the real world.
I found it interesting how Jacinta mentioned that she thought the author chose Laurie to be a kid who lies. I asked why she thought that that was the case, and she said because the author might have known a kid who lied, or may have even been one herself.
I found it interesting how Holly said that Charles was the main character, because I thought that Laurie was the main character. I think that she thought this because Charles is the same person as Laurie, the title of the story is ‘Charles’, and the whole story is based around him.
The 5 Facts of Fiction
Fiction is all about the character:
In this story, ‘Charles’, the main character is Laurie. However, the story is narrated by his mother. Laurie is a young boy who is just starting school. I think that he is cheeky and smart because he is able to convince his parents that there is a boy in his class called Charles. I think that the author made Laurie seem like a very innocent boy because that makes it a more interesting plot twist when the mother finds out that her son has been displaying bad behavior.
‘“We don’t have any Charles in the class.”’
I think that Laurie started being naughty because he was confronted with a new situation like school, and he wanted to be cool and make friends. He is young, and I think he doesn’t know any way to make friends other than rebel against authority.
‘“Today Charles hit the teacher.”’
Fiction is all about what your character wants:
Laurie wants to fit in. He wants to be cool, and he wants his parents to be proud of him. He wants them to think that he is totally capable of going to school and that he is not having any problems. He wants them to think this so they have the impression that he is all grown up.
‘“Charles wanted to color with green crayons so he hit the teacher and she spanked him and said nobody play with Charles… but everybody did.”’
This plot is interesting because Laurie goes to great lengths to lie to his parents, rather than confront them about the issues he has been having at school. Laurie’s parents fall into their child’s trap, and are under the impression that their son is very capable and a well behaved child.
‘My sweet-voiced nursery-school tot replaced by a long-trousered, swaggering character who forgot to stop at the corner and wave good-bye to me.’
I think that if the story were to continue without Laurie’s parent finding out that their son was Charles, Laurie would be even more desperate to make his parents proud. As the story progressed and Laurie saw how happy his parents were with how he was coping, it would be even harder to confront them about his problems. He sort of made the problem harder by lying to his parents.
Fiction is all about how the character gets/doesn’t get what he/she wants:
For a while, Laurie gets exactly what he wants. His parents are very proud of him for not being influenced by Charles’ actions, and he gets away with being a really naughty kid. Because of the way that the author ended this story, we don’t actually know how the mother reacts to finding out that Laurie and Charles are the same person. I can infer that she would be mad at Laurie for showing bad behavior, but would also want to help him have a better experience at school.
“Charles?” she said. “We don’t have any Charles in the class.”
I think that if this story was set from Laurie’s point of view, the story would be very different. You would know from the very start that Laurie was the same person as Charles, and you would know exactly why he was acting that way. However, the plot twist at the end of the story wouldn’t have been very effective. If Laurie’s mother had gone to the school earlier to talk about Charles’ impact on the other children, the story would have ended sooner and in a different way. So, Laurie did get what he wanted for a little bit, but in the end he made his problem worse.
Fiction is all about how the character changes:
At the start of the story, Laurie’s mother talks about how her son is growing up and going to school, and from her pint of view, that is how he is changing.
‘The day my son Laurie started school he abandoned corduroy overalls with bibs and began wearing blue jeans with a belt; I watched him go off the first morning with the older girl next door, seeing clearly that an era of my life was ended.’
As the story progresses, you come across other changes in Laurie’s personality. You start to figure out that Laurie, a kid whose mother once saw him to be very innocent and well behaved is actually very naughty. Then you can wonder and infer why he has changed his personality so drastically.
‘“We had a little trouble adjusting, the first week or so,” she said formally, “but now he’s a fine little helper. With occasional lapses, of course.”
“Laurie usually adjusts very quickly,” I said. “I suppose this time it’s Charles’s influence.”’
It is important that the author made Laurie change, because otherwise you would be under the impression that Laurie was Charles throughout the entire story.
Fiction is all about the world that the author creates:
This story is set in a school environment. It is an experience that most kids go through so it is relatable. You can understand why Laurie is acting the way that he is acting, and you can relate to being put under pressure to make friends. In the real world, actions have consequences, and that is what Laurie needs to learn. He needs to know that he doesn’t have to be bad if he wants to make friends, and in a real school environment, it is important to make friends. This is a world that is very much like our lives, and I think the reason that the author decided to set the story in this environment is so people can relate to it and understand how Laurie is feeling and thinking. In this world, the good things are how Laurie’s parents and teachers may be able to understand why he is lying. Some bad things are how there is so much pressure on Laurie to make friends, and how that can influence Laurie negatively.
Jerry the seal and Gordon the seal were lounging around on the warm rocks, soaking up the sun when Gordon decided to tell a joke.
“Hey Jerry, knock knock!” The young seal said.
“Who’s there?” Jerry responded in a cheeky tone.
“You’d better seal your windows so fish burglars don’t get in!” Gordon started to chuckle, which made Jerry start to laugh. The young seals started to laugh hysterically. They laughed at this terrible joke for 15 minutes, but they were interrupted by their mother, Sally the seal. She told them that dinner was ready, so the brothers ate their dinner, still giggling.
Themes are abstract nouns:
I think that the theme of this story is love and loss. There are many instances where the story expresses these themes. One time where the author showed loss and love was near the end of the story, when Joseph had passed away.
‘I would not ever cry more than I did that night. Loving someone that is gone forever is one of the hardest things you can do.’
This passage strongly represents loss and love because the girl loves the boy, but he dies.
‘Joseph Bryant, my fifth grade sweetheart, is the reason why I know the true definition of love.’
These themes are abstract nouns because you can’t see love, and you can’t touch loss, you can only feel them. An abstract noun is a feeling or an idea. The themes of this story are a good combination because love and loss are feeling that most people can relate too. It is more interesting to read a story about something that you can relate to rather than something you cannot.
Themes are important human issues:
The themes of loss and love are important because everyone has experienced them and can relate to them. In this story, the theme of loss is linked back to cancer, which is a very important issue.
‘But I soon snapped back into reality once Joseph told me that he had cancer. Being in the third grade, I didn’t really know what cancer was.’
I think when the author wrote this story, they wanted to write about cancer to spread awareness of the disease. People need to know that cancer is a big issue. Connecting a relatable theme like loss to a not as relatable issue like cancer is a good way to get the message across. The author is using this story, with these themes, to make it easier for people to understand the idea of loss in cancer.
‘I asked my mother, “What is cancer?” and immediately she started crying.
“Oh honey, it means Joseph will be very sick for a long time.”’
Stories apply to many readers:
I think that the reason this is a good story is because the combination of the themes is very relatable. Lots of people have had a family member or pet die, and during that time they probably experience sadness because of loss, and realizing how much they love someone. People in different situations would be able to get a different message from this story. For example, someone who has or has had cancer would be able to relate to how Joseph feels when he is diagnosed. On the other hand, someone who has or had a close relationship with someone who was very sick would be able to see things from the girl’s point of view. Most people would be able to relate to the girl, and that’s what makes this such a powerful aspect of the story.
Events represent ideas:
When I was reading through this story I made many inferences, but I couldn’t really find any instances where events had figurative meaning. I made an inference when Joseph told the girl that he had cancer.
‘I jumped up and screamed and shouted and said “Oh my goodness, congratulations Joey!” but soon after my exclamation, I realized my reaction was inappropriate.’
By her reaction, I inferred that she was naive and would later learn what cancer actually was. I couldn’t really find any figurative meaning in the story. I thought that the whole story was about the definition of love because of the first few paragraphs.
‘Most people don’t understand the actual definition of love. I do, which is why it frustrates me so much when people say that they love each other when they don’t.’
I think that one of the reasons that I can’t find any figurative meaning in this story might be because it is from the perspective of a young girl.
Experience evolves in patterns:
Patterns and repetition helps us understand what the author wants to emphasize in the story. An example of repetition in this story is in the first few paragraphs.
‘When we played tag during recess, he always went out of his way to tag me to be it. We would always walk in line together and sometimes when the teacher wasn’t looking, we would hold hands. He always shared his colored pencils and markers with me.’
This example of repetition is trying to emphasize all the great things about Joseph Bryant and why he was a great person. It is more powerful this way, rather than it just saying all these thing separately. I think that the pattern is trying to show that the smallest things count. Sharing coloured pencils doesn’t seem like a big deal, but to this young girl, it makes all the difference.
Fiction is instructional:
One of the messages or morals that I found in this story was to never take things for granted. Joseph Bryant was a normal, healthy kid until his life changed when he was diagnosed with cancer. I think that the story is trying to tell us that we shouldn’t waste our life and to understand how lucky we are.
‘But I soon snapped back into reality once Joseph told me that he had cancer.’
Another perspective that I looked at the moral from was the perspective of the girl. Her life also changes when she finds out that her best friend has cancer. It would have been very hard for her to deal with the sadness at only around 8 years old. Again, the message in this is to not take things (like friends) for granted.
‘What did Joseph ever to deserve this? He always shared with others and he always did his homework! He was also my best friend and I thought at the time, he would be my future husband as well.’
“This was the deal, Sam.” Said Jared, the school bully. “You lost the bet. So jump into the lake. Naked.”
Reluctantly, I took my clothes off. My first week at boarding school, and I already knew I wasn’t going to be popular now that Jared hated my guts. Shivering, I tiptoed closer to the edge of the lake. I took a deep breath and jumped into the freezing cold water. I heard laughter behind me. As I turned around, I saw Jared get out a camera. The blinding flash made me realise that I would be the laughing stock of the school…