April 30, 2020

What is it like to be a child?

Victoria MacKenzie

Creative WritingLassie, 2020

Even in an ostensibly happy, secure household, surrounded by loving family members, a child can feel threatened and lack control over their own life. I explore the vulnerability of a young boy, Tom, when his older sister’s boyfriend, Jason, becomes a regular visitor to the family home. Jason is a threat to Tom, wielding his limited power over the younger boy, yet Tom has no say in who can and cannot enter the private sphere of his homelife. It isn’t a question of anybody being particularly aggressive or cruel to Tom; a child’s vulnerability is a subtler proposition. Being a young child is a powerless position, a fact often unacknowledged by adults, and no doubt the reason why many of us yearn to grow up and make our own decisions about how we live and who we spend time with. I made Tom my point of view character to show the scenes unfolding around him from his perspective. I used a limited child’s vocabulary to suggest his perception of the world and to create empathy in the reader for a safe, cared for child, who is nonetheless lonely and uncertain in a world run by adults for adults.