How It Happened-Empathy Model Task

Hello again,

Below I have included an ’empathy’ model task on the short-story ‘How It Happened’. Some students think that choosing the ’empathy’ question which is always Question 3 in Prose and Drama section of the paper, the ‘easy option’. Bare in mind that those questions carry the same marks as a * question, or question 2. You cannot merely write, say if you are Blanche from ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, write stuff like ‘Woe if my life, it is in ruins woe woe woe…’, without making strong references to the text. I personally think that Empathy tasks are sometimes the hardest for students to tackle as they really have to know the characters well to be convincing. However, there are those students, particularly drama students who can really breath life into a character…

Imagine you are Perkins after the car crash in How It Happened.  Write a diary entry

 Model Response

Dear diary,

Yesterday was horrible! It all began with my masters greedy face while he was looking at the car catalog, his smile was exaggeratedly wide and his eyes were opened wide open like two huge windows.  “Umm… sir, I’m not sure it’s safe, I mean… it hasn’t been tested” he chided me for ‘talking non sense’, if he knew what was coming he would think differently. His look hadn’t changed during the whole week, until the famous car arrived, we looked at the car with different faces, I stared In awe and disbelief, while his greedy face became more exaggerated and almost crazy. I charged again shoeing my discomfort against the shiny piece of metal before us. He ignored my talk and barged in.

The car was so delicate on the inside I was afraid it might collapse at any minute. I slowly sat as the seat creaked under the weight of my body. My masters fingers scanned every section of the car with his face unchanging. He revved up the engine and we darted down the path that would take us home. His face suddenly stopped grinning and turned into a deep frown, his mouth was tightly shut and his eyebrows collided with each other furiously. I asked him what was wrong, and all I got was a mumble that sounded something like “brakes don’t work”.

From that moment everything went from bad to worse. A chill ran down my spine, I began to sweat, I tried to scream but my heart was stuck in my throat. The car sped around the corner and almost fell sideways. I caught up some valor, and suggested my master he should jump, he said he wouldn’t. I calmed myself up, steadied my breathing and we both began screaming our escape options over the cars roaring engine. I cannot say exactly how much time passed maybe minutes, seconds, but we were about to hit the pillar on the entrance when I was able to scream.

I regained consciousness squashed by the car; my feet where stuck underneath the curved shape of the engine, the car was on fire and the front window was cracked as if something might have flown through it. I heard someone shouting something I couldn’t work out, I gasped for air but smoke stung my chest like a million knifes, I tried not to breath and I waited. As the people came closer I tried to move but my feet hurt so badly I just became still and heard the steady drops of petrol dripping from the engine fall quickly to the floor. Suddenly I heard a loud sizzle as the fire was being put off. Strong hands pulled my out off the car. Between screams I opened my eyes and looked everywhere for my master, someone answered my question; he had flown out the front window and died instantly. I looked back at the burning piece of junk behind me and cursed the car, my masters stubbornness and death itself.


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