Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Angela's Ashes and Child Perspective

When a kid is explaining to me something that happened in his life, I usually take it with a grain of salt. I don’t think kids are liars, but they tend to exaggerate certain situations and use words that they don’t mean to use. When reading Angela’s Ashes, I was torn whether or not to believe him. The dialect and use of words gave me an image of a kid telling a story, however since it was so insightful with vivid descriptions, it was hard not to believe Frank.

If he was writing this as an adult looking back at his childhood, I feel like it wouldn’t be as real. It might have been more thoughtful, but since I was looking through a child’s perspective, I felt like it was actually happening in front of me. I wasn’t outside looking in, but rather inside his head feeling what he felt, seeing what he saw. The misspelled of words created a more realistic feel of the story. We were really able to get in the head of character. Frank does a good job of describing what he saw and letting the reader into his mind as well. He had a good balance of inner dialogue and what was happening around him.

This is what writing in present tense does for me. You are with the character which doesn’t know what will happen in the future. When something is written in past tense for me, it’s like watching a movie that you know the ending already. It’s more exciting for me when the character does not know how it’s going to end. This I feel puts you more into the story. I tend to follow the character better and try to figure out what will happen next instead of knowing the general outcome already.

Writing Exercise:

Thanh Huynh’s Writing is Ugly.
My dad is yelling at me. Does he know I don’t understand what he is saying? We’re in America, please speak American. Getting a B on a report card isn’t the worst thing in the world. Plus it was a B in handwriting. I write fast. People who write slow finish last. Plus it was a B… in handwriting. Who really cares? People can still read what I wrote. I just write small. I have small hands. I don’t know how to write big yet. He is giving me a weird look now. I guess he’s done talking. I should probably say something.
“Yes, I will do better next time.”

The hardest part in writing in a child’s perspective to me is making sure the voice of the words is of a child. There were a bunch of times that I would use words that second grade me wouldn’t even know. I know that as a kid, I didn’t have long insightful thoughts. They were usually quick and straight to the point. I had a lot of fun though doing this exercise. It’s cool to see what I felt as a kid.

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