Creative Writing: The Backroom Of Jack Butchery (Essay Sample)
The paper itself should be four pages plus at least one additional full page of critical commentary. Please note these are not complete stories—this is not a workshop—but rather pieces (scenes, “glimmers”) highlighting your explorations with craft. The paper grades will depend on your insight into the readings, in particular how an author’s “unlikeable” characters are developed, made complex and “humanized,” along with how your creative piece addresses this. You should discuss these things in your critical commentary along with citing examples from our reading. This paper should be 4 pages plus a full page or more of critique, typed, double-spaced, 12 point, conventional font, stapled and numbered, your name, date and book title on the first page.
In this course we will explore some modern and contemporary authors who have brought to life characters we would love to hate. We will ask such questions as: How does the seriously flawed (as in human being!) character become real on the page? How does a writer make us want to become involved as readers with such characters? How do writers create heroes from villains and victims? How is it we keep reading, even caring about the non-heroic, often antiheroic character? And just what is a literary hero, anyway? We will examine elements of craft, such as style, voice, dialect and diction, character motivation, and the more elusive emotional context, to try and understand as both writers and readers how characters are realized and made complex, on the page.
Books that this paper should be related to:
Everything That Rises Must Converge; Flannery O’Connor
Child of God; Cormac McCarthy
My instructions: We've read the two books mentioned above. The main characters are often flawed in many ways, yet we root for them anyway. This is a creative writing assignment where you should create a flawed character that the reader likes anyway.
Here is one of our in-class prompts: Visualize either Ballard or your character doing a task (i.e.. chewing gum, cooking, fire, etc) Write what you see using as many senses as possible picture him/her interacting with this task or object.
Here was my 5 minute response to that prompt:
The air was so cold it hurt his face. Bright red like the apples which made up most of his diet. Walking along the winding road, he came across a small hill. He sat there dead silent, the only thing you could hear was the wind pushing up against the leaves and the faint sound of water running downstream nearby. His eyes were bloodshot, frozen open for minutes at a time without blinking, biding his time waiting for his chance at dinner. He looked around and scanned for signs of life. Something caught his eye, he ferociously rummaged through his backpack looking for his pair of binoculars, which due to his carelessness had become a monocular. He finally found it and looked through, nothing there.
As you can see this is very creative-writing based. Description, and making the words come to life. Your story does NOT have to be anything related to my prompt above, it was just an example so you can see the type of writing my professor wants.
Critical commentary: After the 4 page creative writing is finished, the assignment asks for a 1 page critical commentary. This is what she said about it in class: Connect your own writing to one of the 2 books we read. Use specific examples from one of the books, such as a particular story or scene, what the author did in that scene and mention how you did something similar in your own writing. Such as "Like -insert author here- I, in my piece, also wrote about a character in the landscape that reflected this and that." Describing the authors style/your style, etc.
Institution of Affiliation
The evening was sullen; business never ran as usual. The events that had happened lately were unforeseen and unexpected. Reports of lost pit-bulls, Alsatians, and other canines were on the rise, rumors and gossips were getting out of hand. Someone had gone savage, maybe two, or three but it didn’t matter.
Two figures were seated in the backroom of Jack Butchery. The two parties had been given an ultimatum which they had accepted. They had a little idea of how the events would overturn against them. An old man, on his early 50’s with a savvy look laid on a lean-back wooden chair. His hands were folded over his chest, and he appeared deeply engraved in thought. Below his nose lay a rough and bushy mustache covered in a few shades of grey. The second figure, a young, gaudy-looking energetic man, around his 20’s was completely distressed. The young man looked at the older man admiringly and dauntingly, as the mood of the room was full of disappointment.
“Mr. Jack, you always find the solution. This is no harder task we are facing” Don said.
“Boy...boy… you do know not of the situation we have at hand. We are done by… come morning, we have not enough meat to feed we customers.” Jack replied, reiterating.
“Ooh God...” Don inaudibly drowned into deep thought too.
The sound of buzzing flies grew louder from the back corridor, creating a tune of hungry and savagery insects. Don took up a hairy whisker from the top of a shelf laden with old magazines. He also picked up a club and flashlight, pressed the power button to reveal a beam of ultra-white rays and headed for the door. He grabbed a combat spotted jungle jacket and covered Jack with it. Jack possessed this jacket since his days of servitude as a navy seal, during the Vietnam War. He got expelled on accounts of friendly fire, where he shot his fellow brigadier for reasons still unknown. Don laid a single barreled Blunderbuss, an 18 pounder shotgun by Jack’s side. Who knows what may happen in the near future. The time for hunting was closing in.
After covering Jack, Don took out for the basement, where he followed a ruggedly dark corridor with shadows of a broken ceiling hanging from the top. He turned right, unlocked a door and stretched his flashlight to find his way into the dark room. Glimpses of grey greasy refrigerator doors were revealed by the spotlight. He turned and directed the beam towards a table where a swam of flies were feasting on a huge carcass. The dead body’s four limbs had been stretched over the table while the body laid face up. Its eyes were glisteningly wide open, one would think the hound carcass was alive and acting zombie. Don grabbed a machete laid on its side and started skillfully skinning it. He carefully cut through the skin, pulled it back and unhinged the limbs from its joints. The meat was lean; as the impulses were still visible, little forms of cadaveric spasms. This gave an idea the animal had not been dead for long. It was of the carnivore kind, the dog species.
Jack’s butchery was strategically situated in the suburbs of the polar Arlington city. He and Don had plied for this hunting trade where they could procure wolf meat for their customers to savor. The natives had gotten used to this kind of meat, labeling it a spectacular delicacy. An excellent discovery. Every morning the customers flock in queues as Jack chops off the ‘weef’ from the hooked carcasses. "Weef" was the terminology given to this kind of meat. Little did they know what the future held.
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