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protagonist versus antagonist composition



How to develop opposing characters



In the seconds semester of school, I have been focusing on introducing more complex writing techniques to my Primary 5 students to use in their compositions.

As they complete the half way mark in their P5 year, the second half becomes more crucial in fine tuning writing techniques and paper 2 components such as Synthesis & Transformation and Comprehension Cloze.

I have always told my P5 students that their SA2 results are very important as it will reflect their level of competence in each English Language component before their PSLE year. In such uncertain times, this is even more important.

We have been working a lot on character development. I have always liked short stories with vivid characters and it takes technique and practice to design such a character(s) in a story.

For the week’s lesson, I wanted my P5 students to work on 2 opposing characters – A protagonist vs an antagonist.

We began by watching a video that explained the definitions and gave some popular Disney examples that the students could relate to.

Then, we did a writing exercise discussing the internal and external characteristics of the protagonist and the antagoist

After we had written a short introduction of our characters, we then planned our compo and the students wrote the compositions out.

I chose this model composition because I appreciated that this student had chosen non stereotypical characters.

            It all started with a cryptic message on my mobile phone from an unknown number. The message read, ‘You are the ugliest girl in the whole school with that fiery red rash and scaly skin all over your body.’ I was stumped. Was this message meant for me? My heart skipped a beat. Could it be a wrong number? I muttered to myself. I pondered over it and decided to ignore it.

            The next day, on my way to class, I stopped by my locker to dump my lunch bag. I got a shock of my life when I saw six words scrawled in bright red ink glaring at me. ‘Do yourself a favour and die.’ I quickly tore down this piece of paper on my locker to avoid further embarrassment to myself. The first thought that came to my mind was Who could have done this? My heart started pounding rapidly. My face did not show it but inside I was trembling with fear. I could not have stepped on anyone’s toes since I was new to the school.

            It had been a rough first week in this elite school for the gifted and it was hard to find new friends so far. I scrunched up the annoying piece of threatening note and slipped it into my pocket as I trudged with a heavy heart to the Indoor Sports Hall for my first period of the day. After the teacher had taken my attendance, I sat on the bench in the corner of the sports hall and watched my classmates carry on with their PE lessons. I had been exempted from PE due to my severe eczema.

I believed that I looked like any average 11 year-old girl. I had short dark hair cut into a bob and was of average height and weight. I was like the other 11 year-old girls in my school except for my skin condition. My skin was covered with red spots ad scars and this scared away my new classmates. There was nothing I could do about it and even though I was smart, my problem made me insecure and sad.

            The bell jolted me out of my thoughts and I made my way to freshen up before the next lesson. As I was about to close the cubicle door, I noticed three of my classmates, Elizabeth, Mary and Ella walking in. I quickly closed the door as I did not want them to see me. Ella was the most beautiful girl in class. She had long black hair tied in a ponytail. She was smart and popular and her skin glowed in the sunlight.

“You know that new girl Phoebe. She has a skin condition and my mother said that its contagious!” My heart palpitated wildly when my name was mentioned. I could tell that it was Ella’s voice. Mary then added on,” Let’s not go close to her!” Ella hissed, “She’s in our English group so don’t borrow her stationery or touch her things!”

Hot tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened in the cubicle. Then, there was silence. My classmates left the toilet and I finally had the guts to come out of the cubicle. One or all of them must have been the one who sent the messages to me.

Just then, my form teacher Mrs Ng, walked into the toilet. She saw my tears and asked what had happened in a concerned voice. In between sobs, I told her that I had heard some classmates say hurtful things about my skin condition being contagious and they did not want to come close to me. I also told her about the text message that I had received and the note in my locker.

The bell rang and our conversation was interrupted. I dried my tears and walked back to the classroom with Mrs Ng. During the Science lesson, Mrs Ng decided not to talk about Energy. Instead, she started teaching the class that the skin was the biggest organ in our body. She not only educated the class on skin diseases and their myths but also told the class that eczema was not contagious and we should respect one another. She then went on to talk about bullies and that they would be dealt with if they were caught bullying others. After that, Mrs Ng dismissed the class for recess.

As I walked towards the canteen I felt grateful that Mrs Ng managed to tackle my problem. I found an empty table and suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Mary and a few other classmates. They asked if they could sit with me and I nodded my head.

            During dinner that night I related what had happened to my parents. My parents were happy that the teacher took care of the situation and handled it well. I was sure that the threatening note was written by one of the girls but I was willing to forgive and befriend them.

            Being bullied taught me a valuable lesson. I was glad that I had confided in my teacher and asked for her help.


Thinking Factory will resume our P5 classes at the centre in July. If your interested in learning writing techniques and preparing for Paper 2 components in time for your SA2, do drop us a line. While our Saturday P5 class is full, there are still places for our Wednesday 5pm-7pm.

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