Basic Trait - Character Development - Part 1

January 25, 2010
By kschade PLATINUM, Sharon, Massachusetts
kschade PLATINUM, Sharon, Massachusetts
24 articles 0 photos 3 comments

After my husband died, I told my children the truth; they weren’t just one of six. In the spring of 1848, I found out I was pregnant with our seventh child. And after welcoming six young souls into our lives, I thought Lucas would be just as happy as I was to be blessed with another. But apparently, that wasn’t the case. When I told him the news, he couldn’t speak. He was frozen. And I was with child. My mother had always told me that a woman becomes a mother once she finds out she is pregnant, and that a man becomes a father when he sees his child. But for my Lucas, that would never happen.


I had always wanted to have children and when I married the love of my life, I knew that was finally possible. Lucas and I decided together that we wanted to be part of a big family, with many sons and daughters to love. But, I guess things change.


James came first; in the late winter of 1827 our town doctor had probably one of the most stressful house calls of his career. Between Lucas’ paranoia and anxiety about the medical conditions and the high rate of women’s death in childbirth, it was more than enough to send someone over the edge. Giving birth was the most painful things I’ve ever done, but James was beautiful. All those long months of discomfort and stress had been worth it, this was my baby and he was mine forever. When family came over for dinner parties, James and Lucas would always be together, and everyone would tell me the same thing, that James looked exactly like his father. We all knew that he would soon grow into a tall and strong young man, with the same curled brown hair, sprinkled with the same red-brown streaks that his father had in the summertime. The bond between them was obvious; besides their physical appearance, their connection was the strongest I had ever seen between a parent and child. I somewhat envied this but I knew that I had my own place in James’ heart; I was his mother after all.


Less than a year past, and another lovely son was born unto us in the summer of 1828; he and James were already the best of friends. As they grew, I noticed their father’s stubbornness and secretive emotions had been passed down to Ben, but not to James. When something went wrong between them, James would always run crying to me, making accusations about anything he could think of, and begging me to fix it. But Benjamin would just sit and stare off if something was truly bothering him, he would never cry, never whimper, but since I learned how to deal with Lucas’ persistent and mysterious personality, I picked up ways around his quite quickly.
Charlotte, born in the fall of 1832, followed and being my first and only daughter, was always at my side. While the boys were out playing in the woods with their father, she would be in the kitchen with me, undeniably making a mess of the house but always learning new things, and growing up, she never stopped asking questions. One afternoon, when she was at the innocent age of two, will always stand out to me as one the happiest days we had together.


“Mommy, I never have anyone to play with when you and Daddy are busy.” She told me, for being such a little girl she had a very big mouth; Lucas always said she learned that from me.


“Honey, what do you mean? You know James and Benjamin love you and would play with you any day if you asked. Why don’t you go outside and see what they are up to?” I replied.


“That’s not what I mean, Mommy” her first word was Mommy and ever since I think she had used it in every sentence. “I mean I want a sister, I want a friend like how Benjamin has Jamie, and how you have Daddy.” She said and looked at me with her big green eyes.
I smiled. “Charlotte, would you like to know a secret?” I crouched down to her level, scooping her into my arms. I pressed my lips to her cheek and kissed her soft skin, and whispered what now was our secret.
She hugged my neck and kissed my cheek back with her soft tiny lips. “Oh, Mommy! I won’t tell anyone, not even Daddy!” she exclaimed, her excitement made us both giggle.
Of course, Lucas already knew that we were expecting our fourth child, and he was even more eager than Charlotte was. After discussing that afternoon with him, we decided we would tell the boys the secret as well, that by that winter they would have a new sibling. When November came around, we were blessed with another beautiful baby girl. Charlotte was so pleased to have a little sister, just like she had wanted. Lucas was already protective of his new daughter, the boys just giggled and at this little thing they were told was their sister. Clara was her name, Charlotte insisted on it being ‘Baby Charlotte’ but instead, we compromised on their names both starting with the letter ‘C’.
There was something different about Clara; from the moment she was born I knew she was different from the others. James, Benjamin, and Charlotte all had their fathers’ brown curly hair and piercing green eyes. They not just looked more like Lucas but they acted like him, James and Benjamin had started school together around the same time Clara was born, and at the ripe ages of seven and six, they were getting into trouble wherever they went. The only thing that separated Benjamin from his brother was that Jamie was a school year ahead of him. Even so, their tricks on their father never seemed to get old. I saw a lot of Lucas in Charlotte too; their stubborn and curious personalities collided, especially with each other. But by the end of the day he would always tuck her into bed with the most love a man could have for his daughter.

The author's comments:
In my creative writing class we went to a nearby cemetery where we picked a family to create a story about. This piece was all about character development and basic traits.

Maria, the wife, was the narrator of this paper, telling the stories of her husband and all her children with flashbacks of imagery. The main focus of this piece was about the lost love between this couple from the 1800s, which was ultimately proven in Lucas’ request and Maria’s secrecy. I used dialogue, vivid physical descriptions, and comparisons between the children and parents to develop all of the characters personalities by ‘showing, not telling’. The lovers’ slow separation was also hinted at in each of the children’s stories but focused on mainly towards the end. Lucas and Maria Johnson are real married people that I found buried together at the cemetery we visited; their seven children were buried along with them. The kids birth dates, death dates, and named were altered to fit this piece but were kept in sync with this time period.

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This article has 1 comment.


on Feb. 11 2010 at 8:46 pm
DallysGrrl PLATINUM, Middlesex, New Jersey
20 articles 0 photos 199 comments
Great job!! I love the chracterization so far!! Im gonna read more!!


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