1) What situations would children not want to get forced into doing?
- Play practical joke on an elderly, frail person – perhaps they person doesn’t thrown back a football kicked over a fence? The joke could backfire as the old person reacts physically (either through poor health or violence)
- Go down a well and not be able to get out.
- Break into a derelict, haunted house.
- Steal from a corner shop.
- Rig a booby trap that goes wrong.
- Eat or drink or smoke something they shouldn’t.
2) How would the weaker child feel whilst being bullied?
- “In a nightmare”; no-one can see what’s going on. Screams are not head.
- Want revenge
3) How would the dominant child feel whilst doing the bullying?
- In control
- 3) Characterisations for each child:
a) The weak child being bullied
- Sex: Boy
- Name: John Walker (nickname Johnnie Four-Eyes)
- Appearance: Short for age, thin/scrawny, dark auburn curly hair, brown eyes, chubby face, wears thick glasses, has freckles and pale skin
- Character: wears rucksack on both shoulders (looks like a scuttling beetle), shy, quiet/reserved, easily led, “deep fish” who thinks long & hard about everything, worrier, poor social interactions, too trusting, prime candidate for phobias, average student at school, “boring”. Knows of Peter Fraser through the kick-about sessions they have in the cul-de-sac. He’s aware of Pete’s nature, his dominance over the other kids; Johnnie always feels “compelled” to join in but knows the risks; he always falls foul to Pete’s nasty comments, the pushes and shoves. He knows that one day, the bullying could get serious.
- Family: no siblings, no mother (left when Johnnie was 2yrs old), father works lots leaving him to fend for himself a lot, an aunt who visits occasionally.
- Setting: Council estate 2-bed semi in a cul-de-sac on edge of town. People keep themselves to themselves. Trouble stirs with new drivers/motorbike riders, bored teenagers, petty crime.
b) The dominant child doing the bullying
- Age: 16
- Sex: Boy
- Name: Peter Fraser (nickname Pete)
- Appearance: Tall for age, quite stocky (keen rugby player), blonde floppy hair, blue eyes, striking features; good bone structure – he is everything Johnnie is not.
- Character: confident-bordering on arrogant, cocky, cheeky, popular (others are scared of him so choose to be friends), risk-taker, plays it cool-shows little emotion, doesn’t care what people think, thinks he’s always right, bossy, pushy, ring-leader, always in trouble but gets away with it, brilliant at sport – tipped to get a scholarship which he assumes will be “in the bag”, no respect for elders, especially older people. Has met Johnnie in the cul-de-sac during kick-about sessions. He’s managed to push him around quite nicely; he’s found quite a wiling victim and picks on him every week. Pete accuses Johnnie of “being on the spine donor list”, which Johnnie doesn’t “get”, impulsive, easily frustrated, lacks empathy, has difficulty following rules, views violence in a positive way (he’s not bothered by it).
- Family: older brother at Uni, Mum and Dad very middle class both have good jobs and have no idea of their son’s misdemeanors (thinks he’s the model child)
- Setting: Lives in nice semi-detached house down the road from cul-de-sac, hence he knows Johnnie. Plays kick-about with the local kids, but only to keep them under his “rule”.
4) Motivations behind the bullying behaviour:
- Need to control, have power over others
- Like to feel dominant, to subdue others
- Get satisfaction from causing injury, pain and hurt
- Has a need to be popular, have friends; the bullying behaviour attracts attention and most don’t want to be bullied so place friendship in the bully (often misplaced)
5) Synopsis of the story:
- Kick-about time; Pete is picking on Johnnie again for no apparent reason other than he can. The scene is set that an elderly neighbour has already been complaining about them playing football outside his house; Pete doesn’t care. During the kick-about, Pete makes the ball fly over neighbour’s fence and then forces Johnnie to go round and get it. Johnnie doesn’t want to go knowing how annoyed he’s already been with them. Pete forces him to, telling him that Johnnie has to make the old boy give up the ball, “or else”. Johnnie, fearing the severity of the threat (and knowing what Pete’s capable of), goes round to the neighbour; he doesn’t answer. Johnnie turns to leave and finds Pete standing right behind him. Pete tells him he has to climb over the fence and fetch the ball. Johnnie knows it’s wrong and doesn’t want to; Pete makes it very clear he has no choice. Johnnie tries the doorbell one last time. No answer. Johnnie wonders if the old chap is okay but that thought doesn’t even cross Pete’s mind. He wants his ball; Johnnie’s going to get it. Johnnie gets over the fence and lands in the garden. He notices the back door open a jar. Pete remains at the fence, goading him. Johnnie sees the ball in the middle of the grass and starts to wander over to it but something stops him; as he glances back towards the house, he notices a person lying on the floor in the kitchen. He rushes into the house and realises it’s the old man. Johnnie checks for signs that he’s breathing; he’s not. He can hear Pete going crazy at the fence, making all sorts of threats. Johnnie ignores it which promotes even more anger. In the end, Pete threatens to kick the front door through, and because Johnnie isn’t reacting, it fuels him. Whilst Johnnie is phoning for an ambulance, there are loud thuds coming from the front. Johnnie then starts CPR to the soundtrack of Pete kicking the door through. Eventually, he succeeds and comes charging through to find Johnnie on the floor with the old man; to Johnnie’s complete shock, Pete tries to pull him off the man to punch him. Tables turn. Johnnie throws Pete across the kitchen, adrenaline fueling him and giving him the strength to do so. Johnnie returns to the old man, listening and watching for signs of life. Pete has no idea what is going on but tries to attack Johnnie again. This time, Johnnie goes mental at him throwing all sorts of threats back at him. Eventually, Pete helps Johnnie with the CPR (one with compressions, one with rescue breaths) until the ambulance arrives. Pete is so shocked by the situation he is left stunned. Johnnie takes control of the whole situation and effectively puts Pete in his place, the first time that it’s ever happened.