What is a vignette?
Vignette is a word that originally meant "something that may be written on a vine-leaf". In literature it may refer to: short, impressionistic scenes that focus on one moment or give a particular insight into a character, idea, or setting.
A vignette is a short, well written sketch or descriptive scene. It does not have a plot which would make it a story, but it does reveal something about the elements in it. It may reveal character, or mood or tone. It may have a theme or idea of its own that it wants to convey. It is the description of the scene or character that is important.
EXAMPLE OF A VIGNETTE
YEAR 11 TASK BASED ON THE WRITING STYLE OF 'THE BOOK THIEF' by Marcus Zusack
EARLY DRAFT IS POSTED HERE
~A thing about Death~
More than just a creature behind a cloak
More than just a creature behind a cloak
I arrive at a house where the glass is shattered all over the wooden floor. I proceed to the kitchen where I see a body lying near the breakfast bar. The motionless body is in a puddle of blood, which is slowly creeping into the man’s clothing and transforming it into a red cloak which slowly attaches itself to the stationary body. It is evident that this man’s soul has been thrown straight into my arms by another’s actions.
As I lean over and pick up the man’s blood-soaked soul, I can feel the innocent soul struggling to get out of my palms. I place my hand slowly over his cold soul and calm him down into a deep sleep for his next adventure. As I walk out the empty dark corridor, I think to myself, “How could human beings still stand each other when one kills another and throws them into my palm like throwing a ball in the playground”.
With the shattered soul heavy in my hands, I continue to my next appointment. I have to pick up and old lady’s soul, but she’s not quite ready yet. I don’t have far to go, just up the street. I see a crowd has gathered.
I walk through the crowd enjoying the questioning looks on the faces that feel me but can’t see me. What have I here? A rowdy group of school kids. Must be from the school across the road that I’ve paid a visit to. I remember those uniforms – blue and grey, just like in the American civil war.Not much fight in these kids though.
They’re all leaning over an old lady on the ground, looking as broken as the concrete footpath. At first I had thought this was a result on another human being’s actions but instead the kids were trying to help. She was a sad picture lying there, long grey coat open on the ground, her red scarf lying like a snake and her grey fur hat toppling down the sloping road. One of the kids was running around collecting groceries which fell from the shopping bag. Luckily, the lights were red and the cars waited patiently for the green light. Why don’t the drivers get out and help? Humans are so selfish.
I walk over and peer into the nearest car. All I see is a driver muttering to himself and bashing the steering wheel – as if that’s going to help. The light turns green and the impatient driver steps on the accelerator. He would have run straight over the old lady’s head if it wasn’t for the smart student with his arm out stretched with the other waving cars on.
I turn around to see one of the blue and grey students taking of his jumper, folding it, then placing it under the old lady’s head. Maybe they’re going to save her soul.
I see that one of the boys have distanced themselves from the crowd and taken the phone out of his pocket. He dials three consecutive numbers and holds it to his ear. His voice is loud and panicky, and I hear him saying “an old lady is hurt at Boundary Street, across from Brisbane State High School, come as quick as possible”. He slips the phone back into his pocket and rejoins the group.
With the help of these boys, I may leave empty handed. Not that I would complain.
I hear it before I see it – a lumbering white truck with an orange stripe down both sides and whirring lights on the roof. It screeches to a stop beside the lady and two officers dressed in white emerge from inside the vehicle. The pair of men separate and one of them kneels beside the lady to assess the situation, while the other runs to the back of the truck to obtain the stretcher and medicine bag, before quickly joining his fellow officer.
One of them reaches into the black bag and draws out a rubbery paraphernalia. He places it around the lady’s arm and begins to pump. Nodding his head, he reaches into the bag again and places a mask over the injured woman’s face. The officers look at each other and nod in agreement.
“step back everybody, this lady needs air”.
I always thought school boys were disobedient, but the crowd magically disperses, worried looks on their faces.
I was wondering what was going to happen next when I heard both of the officers shout in unison. “One! Two! Three! Lift!” The old lady was on the stretcher. Just a few steps and they rolled her into the back of the white truck. One jumped into the back with the lady, while the other hurried to the driver’s seat. He didn't forget to yell to the boys – “Be proud of yourselves, you helped save a life today.”
The ambulance tore up the road and sirens blaring, lights whirring.
The boys in grey and blue huddle together slapping each other across the back, proud of themselves. “Better hurry or we’ll be late for class”.
I hope they aren’t late for class after saving someone’s life.
Perhaps I better follow that ambulance just in case. Today I have seen both the best and worst in humans.