Teaching Point of View to students   Leave a comment

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Explaining point of view to students is made easy by these versions of David v’s Goliath. Here we have the same event but two different accounts. It is up to the student to decide which of these two events is closer to the truth.
This post is an extract from my new book: ‘Blue -Sky Thinking’. It should be available to purchase on Amazon from May 23rd, 2014. It is a book designed for the new Junior Cycle Student Award course in Ireland but will help all 11-16-year-olds to improve their creativity and critical thinking skills.

If you wish to look at my descriptive guide and spelling workbook on Amazon, just click on this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/280-6899154-7038727?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=descriptive+writing


David the little shepherd boy faced the mighty Goliath of Gath, but he was not afraid.

The whispering wind twirled a few grains of sand as he bent down to pick up a stone from the brook. The water felt like warm silk on his hand and he looked up to the heavens as he rose. The sky was cosmic-blue, but he could not see anyone up there who could help him. A few ragged clouds of oyster-white were all that he had for inspiration. The breathing of the wind was warm and the stillness was eerie.

Across from the stream, he could see Goliath sizing him up. Behind Goliath, a great army of men stood in silence looking at him. Their armour flashed with sardine-silver and bronze colours and only the plumes on their helmets moved limply in the breeze. Then Goliath laughed, a deep, booming sound like the rumbling of bottled thunder, and the silence was shattered.

The Philistine army laughed also and clashed their weapons off their shields. The sound of the clanking and clanging caused a few vultures to rise up in surprise and David watched them soar into the sky. Goliath stood in front of the men like a myth from an old book. He was 6 cubits and a span, 9’9’’ from toe to tip. He was an oak amongst a forest of holly trees and David’s mouth became dry and his palms sweated.

“Do not look for the sky to help you, boy. My Gods don’t like it!” Goliath bellowed. He slashed his huge sword twice through the air and David could hear it whistling from where he stood.

David summoned up the courage to defy him and it was as if someone else was answering.

“This day Jehovah will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”

Then David bent down to pick up four more stones, one for each of Goliath’s brothers. Goliath the Brute roared and charged at him. David could feel the vibrations of the giant through his sandals. Slowly and deliberately, he chose the most perfectly smoothed stone. He placed it carefully into his sling and the sling hummed as it swished around and around his head. His 5’3” frame needed all the energy he could muster.

He let fly as Goliath neared the brook. The stone hissed through the air and caught Goliath right in the centre of his forehead. Goliath stopped, stumbled, swayed on his feet, tottered, and crashed to the ground with a howl of outrage. He twitched twice and died.

Silence returned to the Valley of Elah. The murmur of the brook was the only sound that reached the ears of the stunned armies. Then a great cry rose up from the Israelites behind David and he had never felt so alive. He strode across the brook and chopped off the head of Goliath.

“David! David! David!” the Israelites roared as he held the bloody head up to the sky.

Did you like this story? Give your reasons why or why not.

Who do you think is the hero and who is the villain in this story? Is it very obvious?

Do you feel glad that David killed the giant Goliath? Do you have any sympathy for Goliath? Why? Why not?

Make a list of all the onomatopoeic words used in this passage. Do you think they helped the story? Write down as many ways as possible they added to the story.

What is the best image in this story, in your opinion? Did you notice any metaphors or similes? Make a list of those also.

Rewrite the story using the words and phrases below. Why not let Goliath win?

galaxy-blue sky voice rumbling like a volcano
sighing wind a sissing stone
like soft velvet swayed and collapsed
hushed silence jerked once
host of men a pregnant silence
salmon-silver lopped off his head
thunderclap raised it aloft
clattered “Victory!” he screamed.

Point of view in literature is the way the narrator allows you to hear and see the world described. Every narrator has a camera in descriptive writing. The narrator decides at what angle, what type of images and what scene is shown. The screen is what the reader sees, much like a cinema. You are the camera: think about what is going up on the screen.

In the ‘David and Goliath’ story, sympathy was suggested by the “little” shepherd boy versus the “mighty” figure of Goliath. David appears to be all alone at the start of the story. No one can help him and there is no mention of an army behind him. Goliath has the support of his army and they laugh at David’s size. This is one point of view, a hero against a cruel enemy.

A good story will always have a blend of colour, sound, dialogue and action. Point of view helps you to decide which person you want to write the story in: first, second or third. The ‘David and Goliath’ story was written in the third person. The key pronouns are: he, they and it in this story. A diary is normally written in the first person.

Did you know? A cubit is the length from elbow to middle finger tip and a span is the length from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky!

HEROES AND VILLAINS: David v’s Goliath from a different Point of View

David, the king’s weapons’ bearer, looked at the hulking figure of Goliath the Philistine and laughed. He wasn’t the little boy that Goliath thought he was. He was a veteran of many battles and all his enemies had fallen like skittles at his feet. True, he was only 5’3’’, but that was quite tall for 1,015 B.C. Goliath was only a head taller at four cubits and a span.

“This guy isn’t even worth a sword stroke,” he thought, as he bent down to pick up five stones from the brook. The cool water felt like satin on his hand and the puffing wind swirled a few dust grains as he picked the best stones. Goliath, his cousin from his mother’s side, had four brothers. If they felt like a blood feud after he butchered Goliath, he would cut off their heads too.

He looked up to the sky. Not because he was looking for help, but because he could see Goliath was favouring his right hand and was slow and clumsy. The sky was brochure-blue with a few wispy clouds and David thought he would take a holiday after today. The Lord above knew he needed it. His life up to now had been a never ending series of blood and battles. His mouth was dry but that was because they were in the middle of a heat wave.

“And to think none of the Israelites will fight this oaf,” David thought, as Goliath the Village Idiot boomed out some words in that alien accent of his. David couldn’t understand a word he said, but it must have been funny because the Philistine army laughed like braying donkeys. Then they smote their weapons against their armour and all the clunking and clonking nearly caused him a headache.

“Let’s get it over with!” he screamed because his patience was running out. Goliath pounded the ground with his feet and David could swear he could feel the vibrations through his sandals. He took a round, oval stone and placed it in his sling. He twirled the sling in neat circles around his head, waiting for the right moment. Goliath was nearly inside the kill zone and he didn’t want to have to fight him. The day was just too hot. The sling whirred and strummed with the violence of his hand. Then he released it and the stone fizzed through the air like a hummingbird’s wings.

A hit! It had struck him in the centre of his forehead. David couldn’t believe it. What happened next stunned him even more. Goliath groaned and staggered backwards. His huge legs buckled underneath him and he collapsed onto his knees. He tried to rise, but there were blood bubbles coming from his mouth. He fell forward. His face hit the sand. He twitched once and was still.

A pregnant silence descended on the battlefield. The only sound was the burbling of the brook and the scream of a happy vulture. Then a roar arose from the vast, Israelite army behind him and David felt proud of himself. He had never seen anyone dying from a slingshot before.

“Right. Let’s go get that head, I suppose,” he said out loud. “And if those brothers of his want it back, there’s another four stones where that one came from.”

I hope you enjoyed the post. Point of View is expanded on later in the book by using a Christmas scene.



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