In my recent workshops and in class, we have been looking at the writing technique of External and Internal Conflict. This is a great way to develop characters in a story. There are always two sides of a story, as we say. Not only does the protagonist have a story, but also, the antagonist.
So, why do we always leave them out? Shouldn’t we explore writing from the viewpoint of a bully or a thief? Or even give them a past and some feelings?
The composition below is called Am unwelcome guest. My student wrote from the point of view of the protagonist but gave her antagonist a more real personality, someone with a past and a glimpse of goodness.
I threw my bag onto the floor and jumped onto my couch. It was the weekend. No school for two days and my parents were away for the weekend for my aunt’s wedding. My paternal grandparents were supposed to come over, only on Saturday morning so I had Friday afternoon all to myself. I had been bragging about how I would be alone at home all day in school. What should I do first? I thought gleefully. Ipad? Television? Phone? But before I could even decide, the front door bell rang. The shrill sound sliced through my thoughts and a dread of premonition passed through me. Who could it be?
Then, the doorbell buzzed again and woke me from my stupor. I chided myself for being silly and afraid. It was 3pm in the afternoon. Which dangerous person would be out in broad daylight? I opened the door and immediately wished that I had not. There in front of me, stood Brian Tan, the infamous, notorious school bully and he wasn’t alone. Carrying baseball bats and flanking him were his delinquent cronies. My blood ran cold and I wanted to slam the door shut but my hands were unable to follow my command.
“Hello John, ” sneered Brian, his muscular frame leaning against the door so that I could not close it. He moved in closer, towering over my scrawny body.
“We heard that you are alone at home today and wanted to pay you a visit. After all, we know how rich you are so we thought we may come by and borrow some money from you.” His evil cronies cackled loudly behind him.
I had never been bullied by Brian in school simply because we were best friends from Kindergarten till Primary Two. We drifted apart after that because Brian was unable to manage the school work while I excelled in school. By Primary 6, Brian was in the worst class and failing every subject while I was the Head Prefect and scoring A-stars. Even though we had been best friends once, we ignored each other in school now.
“You are not welcome here,” I said as courageously as I could, “I will report you on Monday Brian Tan and you will be in trouble.”
To my surprise, he backed away from the door and a look of fear and hurt passed through his face but it was quickly replaced by a menacing snarl.
“Get him!” he screeched and with that, his cronies barged in, grabbing me by my arms and throwing me onto my armchair. They took out a rope and tied me to my chair as fear raced through my heart. One of them locked the front door and Brian made his way upstairs. I knew where he was going. He was going to my parents’ cupboard where a locked drawer kept my mother’s valuables. He knew where it was because I had shown it to him when he used to play at my house. That was when we were best friends. Now he was just a big bully and about to get into trouble with the police if he did not kill me first.
The rest of his cronies followed him upstairs and I heard whoops of laughter as they rummaged through my family’s belongings. By now, my fear had been replaced by anger. How dare he do this to me and my family? Adrenaline kicked in and I somehow managed to untie my hands. Stealthily I grabbed the phone and sneaked out to call the police. I stood near my neighbour’s gate waiting to shout for help if I saw Brian coming out of my house. Fortunately, they were too greedy to even notice that I had escaped. The police arrived in the nick of time and caught them red-handed in my parents’ room.
I was taken down to the police station to write a report and my grandparents rushed down to meet me. At the police station, I saw Brian and his cronies. They did not look like bullies anymore, just scared children. For a moment, I felt sorry for him but he reaped what he had sown. He should not have come unwelcomed to my house.
Primary 5 English tuition class schedule
|Day||Start time||End time|
|Thursday||5.00 pm||7.00 pm|
|Friday||4.00 pm||6.00 pm|
|Saturday||2.00 pm||4.00 pm|