In English, we tested our creative storytelling skills and focused on using dialogue to develop our characters. We also examined the same story from various different perspectives, exploring perspective writing. For my story, I wrote from the perspective of a cheetah, a sloth, and a narrator (third person). This way, my reader gets a glimpse inside the mind of each of my main characters. All of the perspectives are included below.
Charlie (The Sloth)
Today is muggy, as are most days in the tropical rainforest. As usual, moving feels like swimming through a trough of maple syrup. I blow out a frustrated breath, dislodging a long, moss-like strand of hair dangling over my eye. Sloth; I think to myself, noun. habitual disinclination to exertion indolence; laziness...Slowly, I use a claw to grip the branch in front of me, then another claw. Sloth; noun. any of several slow-moving, arboreal, tropical American edentates...no wonder they named us after the fourth deadly sin. I check my progress and discover I’ve moved a satisfying three feet. Perfect. I settle myself in a hanging position, shut my eyes, and prepare to sleep for another fifteen to eighteen hours. Such is life.
Just as I’m about to doze off, I hear a raspy voice call from the ground below. “Hey!” I ignore it, hoping it’s directed toward someone else hanging in the banyan trees. “Hey! Charlie! Is that you up there? You awake?” No such luck. It’s Boris, another neighborhood sloth. “Barely.” I grumble in Boris’ general direction. “Oh! Great!” exclaims Boris, not getting the hint. “I just dropped in for my weekly bathroom break, and I thought you might be around here. Want to stop by my tree for a nap?” I consider his offer, feeling guilt at the thought of turning him down. “Sure, I’ll be right down,” I say in resignation and begin my journey down the tree trunk. Ten minutes later, my feet hit the ground. “Gee, Charlie!” professes Boris excitedly. “You sure are fast! Ever think of joining the track team?” He chuckles at his own ironic joke. The remark gives me an idea. “Actually…” I respond, “that’s not such a bad thought!”
My mental gears begin to turn at the pace of a blue whale’s heartbeat. “What? Hah, Charlie, that was just a joke. You know, haha.” Boris pushes me gently with one paw, but I’m not listening. I’m busy dreaming of gold medals, cheering crowds, winning my first race, beating the odds. “Charlie! Hey!” Boris repeats. I startle out of my reverie. “Boris, what if a sloth actually could be...fast? What if I trained, really hard, every day...what if I could run?” “Dude, chill!” Boris laughs. “Sloths are slow. It’s our nature. That’s why they call us sloths!” “Alright, Boris.” I mumble, continuing to walk after I pass Boris’ tree. “Hey! Dude! Charlie! What about our nap?” I hear in the back of my mind. “I’ve gotta do some thinking.” I respond under my breath. Such a pity, I think to myself. If only I had a friend to talk to who feels like me, who doesn’t want to just live the slow life. As I approach a watering hole, grumbling to myself about sloths and sloth. “Why can’t I be the exception? What’s stopping me from being faster than the fastest gazelle?”
A deep chuckle resonates from the other side of the pond, and I’m stunned to discover a gleaming, lithe cheetah leaning over the water. “You’ll never even get started without a good coach, kid.” he purrs, golden eyes glinting with humor. I’m terrified, but simultaneously enthralled. “Are- are you offering?” I stammer. “Maybe.” the cheetah smiles a bone chilling smile and advances towards me, lean muscles rippling. “How hard are you willing to work?” “I’ll try really hard, I promise.” I respond, half out of eagerness and half out of fear for my life. There’s no telling what this guy’s gonna do if I respond negatively. “Good.” the cheetah smiles again. “Name’s Chakor.”
Chakor (The Cheetah)
Making sure to bare as many teeth as possibIe, I enjoy how petrified the sloth looks as I introduce myself. He swallows loudly, and manages to eke out, “I’m Charlie.”
I don’t respond, walking around him in a slow circle. He’s not in bad shape- for a sloth. “This’ll be interesting.” I mutter to myself. “Come on, kid. I’ll show you somewhere flatter and more open to practice. All of these trees just won’t do.”
He looks anxious, but slowly begins to follow me. Very, very slowly. After about five minutes, I grow impatient. “Try picking up your feet a little more. Walk on your knuckles, you’ll get caught on your nails less. You’ll get farther in less time.” The sloth complies, straining to straighten his front legs. “Good.” I offer a grudging word of encouragement. “Just...keep that up until we get to the field.”
A few more minutes pass before we reach a large expanse of golden, grassy land dotted by the occasional tree. I survey the scene for other cheetahs, who might not be so friendly to a sloth so far out of his territory. No one is in sight, so I give Charlie the go-ahead. “Alright, run as fast as you can to the nearest tree.” I say to the sloth, who is already panting and wheezing behind me. “Just...give me a...second.” he pleads, stopping to catch his breath. I sigh and narrow my eyes. “Alright, alright. Your endurance is going to need a lot of improvement if you’re ever going to be a real competitor.” Charlie looks up at me, his brow furrowing and eyes narrowing in determination. “You know...I think I’ve got it. I’m fine. Should I go? Are you ready?” “Just go!” I snap, and surprisingly, he rockets forward at a good three miles per hour. Huh! I think to myself, my tail twitching. This might not be as hard as I thought it would be! I don’t want to admit it to myself, but the kid is growing on me.
When the sloth returns after a few runs, he collapses flat on his belly in front of me. “Was...that...good?” He wheezes. “It’s a start.” I admit. “You’ll probably have a chance if you begin with the rookie races.” “Rookie races?” he asks, lifting his head briefly. “Yeah, some of the slower animals enter, though I’ve never seen a sloth. I don’t think any of them really even try.”
“So- no cheetahs?” he inquires.
“You’re only up against the cheetahs if you race expert level, which-” I chuckle- “is certainly a long shot, if you know what I mean.”
“Yeah, alright. Maybe I’ll be ready for the rookie races in a few months or so.” Charlie grumbles. I laugh. “Oh no, kid. I’m putting you in your first race tomorrow. You’ve got the technique almost learned, you just need some practice.”
An anxious expression crosses his face. “But-”
I interrupt, “There’s nowhere better to practice than a competition. Running the fields over and over isn’t going to cut it.”
The sloth complies, but he’s clearly still scared out of his mind. “Alright, that’s enough for today. We’ll get an early start tomorrow morning.” I turn to leave, and we walk- slowly- back towards the trees.
Loris (The Slow Loris)
I wake up primed, fresh and ready to start a new day- and today is certainly an important one. I’ve been practicing for this day for months. After I lost my first three rookie races, it seemed like every animal at the racing grounds was laughing in my face. “Ha, ha!” the old tortoise had cackled. “Imagine that- Loris the Loris, even slower than the slowest snail!”
“...a disappointment.” I heard another Loris conclude into the ear of a parrot. Shrieks and laughter rang throughout the forest as I made my way home, head hanging low. I didn’t have a friend in the whole animal kingdom. Though initially embarrassed and alone, I quickly shoved aside my self pity and resolved to turn it into determination. I will win a rookie race, if it’s the last thing I do, I had vowed to myself.
That’s why today is so important. Today is the day I will win my very first rookie race. I shake the morning dew off my coat and start quickly toward the racing grounds.
Animals already surround the clearing, and the air is abuzz with excitement and anticipation. Heads turn in my direction as I arrive, but I’m not afraid to look my neighbors in their various vividly colored eyes. Today is your day, Loris. Today is your day. I am filled with confidence.
I survey the scene, sizing up my fellow animals. To the right side of the clearing are the cheetahs and the ocelots, silent and brooding, already shooting each other threatening glances. Typical. To the left are the lions, gazelles, rabbits, jackals and kangaroos- fast, but not that fast. Behind me are the elephants, hippos, rhinos, and various birds. Spectators are all around me. “Well hey there, Loris! Didn’t expect you to show up around here again, slowpoke!” croaks a particularly irritating tree frog. I ignore him as he ribbits frantically at his own profound sense of humor. Finally, directly ahead of me, I spy my competition- the rookies. A motley crowd of outcasts and first timers, they mingle awkwardly, pacing and muttering among themselves. A koala, a snail and a Gila Monster sit in preparation for the race, alongside a few giant tortoises and a box turtle. Finally, I spot a sloth I’ve never met before, talking to- Great blazing heck! A cheetah?! Talking to a sloth?!! Unheard of! How can this be??
I expect the sloth to meet an early death right before my innocent eyes, but surprisingly, the cheetah seems to be delivering some sort of pep talk. Confused, I begin to mull over the situation, but my thoughts are interrupted by the trumpet of an elephant. “First up...rookies!” the elephant booms, and trumpets again. The rookies begin to assemble. About five minutes later, four of us are gathered at the starting line. A tortoise, snail, and a sloth shift next to me. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice that the sloth looks incredibly nervous. Obviously a first timer. “Good luck.” I mutter, not completely sure if I mean it. “Thanks.” he responds. “On your maaaaaarks!!!” the elephant booms, raising his trunk. “Get settttttttt!” I ready myself. “GO!” he trumpets, setting off the race.
I explode past the starting line, sure I’m way ahead of my competition. After running at a good pace for a few seconds, I notice a flash of grayish-green in my peripheral vision. To my surprise, it’s the sloth! He’s gaining on me! Darn it! I think to myself. I underestimated him! It must be the cheetah! The cheetah must’ve- I don’t have time to finish the thought, as the sloth is right on my tail. Only a few meters left in the race! I think to myself. You can do this, Loris! I push my muscles to move as fast as they can. After what seems like an eternity, I finally cross the finish line- a good distance ahead of the sloth.
To my delight, I’ve beaten the other three animals in the race! Pride surges through me as I walk past the stunned spectators to get a drink of water. The elephant trumpets again. “Loris the Loris wins first place!” Suddenly, the silence breaks and the crowd cheers. I grin as the sloth approaches me. “Congratulations!” he beams. “Thanks...wow, if I were you, I wouldn’t be quite as good of a sportsman.” I reply. Still huffing and puffing, the sloth explains, “This is my first race, I just started training yesterday! I expected to be crushed by everyone. Second place is great!”
I smile back at him, but the smile wavers as a gigantic, muscular cheetah appears behind him. “Keep practicing, kid.” the cheetah purrs, grinning, then slinks silently into a group of his fellow big cats. “Anyways!” the sloth resumes. “I’m Charlie. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Loris.” I respond. “Nice to meet you too, Charlie. I don’t see many sloths around here. Tell me, what motivated you to start running?”
Walking away from the racing grounds and back into the trees, we begin to talk.