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   Student Writing
    (March 2, 2002


This story, written by a Grade 10 student, illustrates the use of setting, dialogue, and a simple theme. In the story, a young child learns an important lesson in life. The students model their stories after Sean O'Failain's story, "The Trout." See the original assignment here. 


Sharon's Hamster by Jacqueline

     Sharon was sitting on the bed in her cozy room and thinking what would be her Christmas gifts. The same as other little girls' rooms, there were many colorful and beautiful things in it a red heart design bed sheet, a flower design comforter, a tulip lamp on the table, and her precious Barbie collection. The cute Minnie clock on the wall was her favorite thing, because Minnie would say hello in the morning at 8:00 sharp, sing a short song from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm sharp, but she hated when Minnie said Good-Night at 9:00 pm. 

     She liked to play with James, her 9-year-old brother, but he always stayed alone on the balcony, a place she hated because it was dark and cold. He searched for constellations, meteoroids, galaxies, nebulas, faints, and his favorite planets Jupiter and Saturn every moonless evening after dinner. She would play with a Barbie or listen mom's stories until Minnie said, "Good night, have a sweet dream." 

     Sharon began to fear the dark night coming soon when mom was reading the stories at bedtime. She was 6 years old, but still needed the lights on the whole night, because she was afraid to die while sleeping. 

     Sharon begged mother, "Mom, stay with me tonight, please! Please!" 

     "My dear, don't be afraid! God is with you. I promise you the lights will stay on the whole night tonight." 

     Sharon was very disappointed; then she held her Barbie in the bed and blessed, "I wish I could be braver than I am really." And she hoped God could hear her sounds. 

      On Christmas morning, James and Sharon got their gifts. The best gift James loved was a telescope and Sharon's favorite gift was a pet "hamster," different than her wish— braver. 

      James hurried to study the instructions for setting up the new telescope and expected a dark night coming soon. 

      Sharon was the master of the little animal; she happily named it Sunlight, for she liked the sun more than the moon. With dad and mom's help, she set up a new cage with wood shavings, an exercise wheel, food, a water bottle, and a selection of toys for Sunlight. Then, she started to observe Sunlight's behaviors— eating the favorite sunflower seeds and peanuts, running as fast as possible on the exercise wheel, hiding away in corners, drinking water. She spent the whole Christmas morning playing with Sunlight. She tried to hold it on her hand and fed it its favorite sunflower seeds. 

      "Oh, Sunlight is so cute," Sharon happily thanked her parents, "This is the best gift I have ever had. Thank you!" 

      In the afternoon, Sunlight seemed tired and deeply slept, oblivious to Sharon's observations. Sharon peered at Sunlight and kept quiet to allow Sunlight to sleep well. At last, Sunlight woke up and began to be active in the evening around 9 o'clock, the same as Sharon's bedtime. Sunlight made louder noises, bothering Sharon's sleeping, but she didn't mind. 

     "Mom, can I play with Sunlight for a while and take it back to sleep?" she asked her mother." 

     "No, the hamster is a species of night animal; it will be active the whole night. If you want to take care of it, then you will not sleep the whole night either," mother explained. 

     "A night animal? Like the bats are active at night without the light in the dark?" she wondered. 

      "Yes, The dark suits them." Mom said, "So, the light off can let them recognize if it is the day or night. It's good for their healthy growth." 

     "I see, Mom," she said, seeming to understand something, "I'm so lucky I don't need to act in the dark as hamster, but just one thing to do— sleep. For the good of my Sunlight, may I have the small wall light on? I hope the faint light will not affect Sunlight's growth." 

     "Of course, my dear, it's a good start for both Sunlight and you." Sharon kissed mom good night, then blessed and thanked God who let her wish come true. She didn't need any more lights on the whole night, but was satisfied with Sunlight's noises.

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