Setting Basics Activity 02: World in use

Describing the Physical World

World in use, through behaviour

We can paint a picture of the world by describing how people interact with things in the world.

For example, in this snippet  Tracey Baptiste describes a fish—but she describes it by showing how two characters interact with it.

Pierre continued to clean the fish. The kingfish’s silvery body was limp in his hands, and the scales fell to the ground like transparent leaves as he scraped them with his knife. He cut it open and took out the bones and the guts and lay the fish flat and open for Corinne to cook. Corinne washed the fish, then filled its insides with herbs and squeezed oranges over it before she took it to the fire.

The JumbiesTracey BaptisteSource

In this snippet, we have characters taking action (Pierre cleaning and cutting; Corinne stuffing and cooking) and that action tells us something about the characters: they know how to cook, they do it with care, and they seem to cooperate.

But through their actions we also encounter specific details about the world (the fish has silvery scales, bones and guts, and the recipe has it filled with herbs and covered with orange juice).

So we learn about the physical details of this world by following what the characters do.

Here are a couple of examples using the same approach.

Kirra felt the tough bark of the branch in her hands. She let go, and the world swept past her. She hit the lagoon with a splash. Bubbles streamed past her face, glittering and quiet. She swam back to the surface,  to the bubbling of the falls and the laughter of her friends egging Kat on.

Marie pressed her face against the thick glass of the toy shop window, and her breath formed little clouds that grew and shrank with every excited exclamation. She yelped as Silvie stepped up next to her and dumped freshly fallen snow from her umbrella down Marie’s back.

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