The ultimate goal in English for this unit was to write a short narrative in three different points of view.
“Ooh, almost done.” I slam my math textbook closed as I finish working out the last problem of my math homework. “And....actually done.” I wish I could say that this was the last problem of my night, but I’d be lying if I said that. I glanced at the clock. 5:47. “It’s still early, I should study for next week’s Econ test for a bit.”
Knock knock. “Stevie, are you busy?” my mom calls out.
“Not really. Come in, mom. Door’s open.”
My mom enters the room. “Listen,” she starts, “Your father and I need to talk to you about something as soon as he gets home."
“About what?” I ask, clueless as to what this was regarding. Suddenly, we hear the jingle of my dad’s keys, and the opening of the door. “Well I guess I’m about to find out.”
It’s not long before my dad enters the room and expresses, “Oh good, we’re all here.”
“Hey, Dad. Uh, what’s this about?” I question nervously. “Don’t worry, Steve. You’re not in trouble.”
Whew, what a relief, I think. “Didn’t think that for a sec,” I say with a slightly uncomfortable laugh. “So what’s up?”
Both mom and dad walk over and sit on my bed. I follow them in my swivel chair at my desk. Dad is the first to speak. “How would you feel about going away this winter break?”
“Family vacations are great! Where are we going?” I asked eagerly.
“We’re not going anywhere. You’re going to Mexico,” he responded.
Dad gives mom a look, as if to tell her that it’s her turn to explain things to me. She catches on quickly and says, “We’ve volunteered you for a service trip in a rural town.”
Astounded by what my parents had just revealed to me, I sit there with my mouth open, just trying to take everything all in. Mexico? Alone? Volunteer? Me? “You’re kidding, right?”
“Your mom and I thought this would be a good opportunity for you to help others out.”
“I won’t go. Why can’t they help themselves out? I work hard for myself, and only myself, and it’s not that bad.”
“Steve, you have to understand that your reality is a lot different from theirs--” Unable to handle this meeting further, I stand up, grab my thick coat, and head out of the bedroom door, down the stairs, and then outside.
The nippy air leaves a slight stinging sensation in my eyes as I make my way through the chilly park near my house. Snow descends from the sky, which makes me happy. It’s the first snow of the year, reminding me of the upcoming holidays. But that happiness proves to be temporary, as I’m quickly brought back to face the reality of this holiday season.
“I can’t believe they signed me up for this,” I mumble quietly, to myself. “They can’t just make me volunteer to go on the trip. That defeats the whole point of volunteering.” The sheer irony of the situation is a bit humorous, but I’m not laughing one bit. “I should be staying home this winter break, celebrating the holidays with my family. I shouldn’t have to go to a foreign country to help people I don’t even know.”
I walk on for a while, and the snow continues to sprinkle down. My dad’s words keep ringing through my mind. ‘Your reality is a lot different from theirs.’ My reality is a lot different from theirs. “He’s right.” I say to myself, admittedly. “Some people aren’t as privileged as me and don’t have the same opportunities that I’ve had.
Scoffing at the fact that just a few minutes ago I was so opposed to the idea, I made the decision right then and there. “Goodbye snow, hello Mexico.”
Omniscient 3rd Person
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 17-year-old Steven Bentley sits quietly in his room, quickly but carefully working out the problems assigned to him for Calculus. This is an ordinary school night for him. No going out, no study breaks. Just working straight through, no matter how many times his precious pooch, Toby, comes in, begging for some attention from Steven. His whimpers for attention are always met with Steven’s firm but fair “I’ll play with you after I finish my schoolwork.” But this promise is almost never kept, as Steven seems to always find more schoolwork to do.
He signifies the completion of his Calculus homework by slamming his textbook closed, which makes a gloriously satisfying thud coming down. Not long after, Steven finds yet another school-related thing to work on; this time it was studying for next week’s Economics test.
A knock is heard from the door, along with his mother calling out, “Stevie? Are you busy?
“Not really. Come in, mom. Door’s open.” His mom enters the room and tells him “Listen, your father and I need to talk to you about something as soon as he gets home."
Steven’s brow furrows as he asks, “About what?” Before his mother can even give him an answer, the distinct sound of his father’s keys are heard from downstairs, followed by the sound of the door opening and closing. “Well I guess I’m about to find out,” Steven says worriedly. “Hey, Dad. Uh, what’s this about?” Steven inquire as his dad steps into his room.
“Don’t worry, Steve. You’re not in trouble.”
With a sigh of relief, Steven asks, “So what’s up?”
His mother and father explain that they’ve volunteered him for a service trip set to take place in a rural part of Mexico over winter break. Flabbergasted, Steven erupts with “You’re kidding, right?” to which his dad replies “Your mom and I thought this would be a good opportunity for you to help others out.”
“Why can’t they help themselves out?” an irritated Steven asks.
His dad furrows his brow after Steven’s unexpected outburst. “Steve, you have to understand that your reality is a lot different from theirs--” Steven storms out of the bedroom before his dad can finish his thought.
Steven decides that he needs some time to himself, so he storms out of the house to take an angry walk through the nearby park, which is freezing. One phrase in particular strikes a chord with him. Your reality is a lot different from theirs.
He begins to talk to himself quietly. “He’s right. Their reality is a lot different from mine. I’m being a big baby about this. Maybe I’ll even like this service trip, who knows?
1st Person-Secondary Character
After a busy day at the finance office, I settle into my car and undo my tie, letting out a huge breath of relief. But that relief has no time to linger before worry starts setting in. I’m supposed to hurry home so my wife and I can talk to our son Steven about an important decision that we made for him. Thinking about the possible outcome and Steven’s possible reactions, I shoo the worry away, trying to convince myself that he’ll react well. He works hard, but the only thing I worry about is that it seems like he couldn’t care less about people other than himself. He succeeds, but he succeeds alone. He’s always so competitive, and I worry that his love for success and winning has impaired his sense of generosity. Brushing all these worries aside, I start the car and make my way back home, but I find myself talking to myself the whole ride. “He’s a good kid. He won’t react badly; I bet he’ll even like the idea.”
I reach home and as I unlock the front door and open it, I whisper, “It’s show time.” Knowing that Steven’s pretty much always working on schoolwork in his room, I check there first. I notice that his door is ajar so I pop my head in and notice that my wife, Diane, is already in there with him. “Oh good, we’re all here,” I express.
After all of us are sitting and all of our attention is focused on the meeting, I break the news to Steven. But I beat around the bush a little bit, giving myself time to brace myself and think of a good explanation in case he doesn’t react positively to the news. “How would you feel about going away this winter break?” I ask. Poor Steven thought I was talking about a family vacation until I have to rip the band-aid off and finally say, “We’re not going anywhere. You’re going to Mexico.”
I give Diane an okay-honey-it’s-your-turn-to-talk-now look, and she reveals, “We’ve volunteered you for a service trip in a rural town. The look on his face instantly turns from confused to concerned. What he says next surprises both his mother and me.
“You’re kidding, right?” he scoffs.
“Your mom and I thought this would be a good opportunity for you to help others out.” I respond.
Steven was growing more irritated by the second. “I won’t go,” he starts, “Why can’t they help themselves out? I work hard for myself and only myself, and it’s not that bad.”
I hadn’t anticipated a reaction this severe from him. I try to reason with him and remind him, “Steve, you have to understand that your reality is a lot different from theirs--.”
But he doesn’t give me a chance to finish expressing my sentiments before he storms off. I hear his angry footsteps make their way down the stairs and out the front door. Diane lets out a defeated sigh and says, “Could that have been any more of a disaster? What are we going to do?”
I sit there, deep in thought and worry, but manage to keep a calm exterior. “Whatever happens at this point, happens. We can’t force him to go.”
“You’re right,” she concedes.
“Do you think he’ll change his mind?” I ask her.
“You know our Stevie. His mind isn’t easily swayed. I agree and then leave Steven’s room to start on dinner. Diane joins me shortly to help.
As I chop the tomatoes, I hear Diane say, “Look at that. It’s the first snow of the season.”
A little while afterwards, the door opens, and Steven emerges from the snowy outdoors. He nervously says, “Mom...Dad...I think I’ve made my decision. I guess it’s ‘goodbye snow, hello Mexico.’”