Monday, 20 June 2011

Step-By-Wicked Step: Plot Overview and Moral Values

Some notes taken from my book:

Plot Overview
  •  The novel is written in seven chapters. The first two chapters are without titles while the other five chapters consist of stories from the five main characters, Claudia, Pixie, Ralph, Colin and Robbo.

  • In the story, five schoolchildren spend the night in the creepy Old Harwick Hall, as part of a school field trip accompanied by their teachers. The schoolchildren do not really know each other, but the discovery of an old diary in the tower room find themselves coming closer together as they actually have a lot in common. The novel is written in an autobiographical style where the five main characters, Claudia, Pixie, Robbo, Colin and Ralph take turns to tell their five distinct stories step-by-step, story-by-story. They share stories of their stepfather, stepmother and step siblings frankly and openly and how they cope with their own situation. Their stories have a mixture of happy and sad endings.

Here are some of the moral values that one can expound from the novel:

Family is everything
This is the main message in all the five stories from Claudia, Ralph, Colin, Pixie and Robbo. Love is the factor that binds the family together but sometimes the family unit breaks down due to a lack of understanding between parents. Most of the time, children are not prepared for such a situation and this lands them in an awkward and painful situation. It is important to minimize the impact of divorce on children and to make sure they do not feel unwanted or unimportant. Parents must always try to keep the family together despite the breakdown in their relationship.

Patience is a virtue
It is important to practice a lot of patience in difficult times. No parents would want a divorce if they can help it. Hence, everyone affected by a divorce must be patient and tolerant.  Richard Clayton Harwick does not show enough patience when he leaves his family because he cannot get along with his step father. As a result of his action, his mother dies of heartbreak and his sister blames him for being selfish and cruel. In Pixie’s story, she does not show much patience towards her step siblings. She refuses to share her bedroom with Hetty. She is also hard headed and argues intensely with her step mother.

We must learn to adapt to new situations
Children from broken homes have no choice but to learn to adapt to new situations. This may be unfair to the children who seem to be the ‘victim’ of circumstances beyond their control. However, in the five stories told, we learn that adapting is better than resisting although it takes a lot of patience and effort on the children’s part. Claudia shows she is a rational and sensible child to accept her step mother. Ralph, who has three step mothers, gets along with all of them despite their different personalities.

Don’t give up hope
Colin’s story is the saddest of all. He does not give up hope of one day finding Jack whom he accepts as his own father. He saves all his money and plans to look for his dad when the time is right. Colin is a very determined person despite his young age. He knows what he wants. Robbo also hopes his sister Callie will accept their step father Roy. However, Callie resents Roy and decides to live with her real father in the end. 

Happy teaching!

~the thinking teacher~


  1. small mistake..collin's accepts Jack as his own dad not Roy

  2. thanks adora gal! i will correct that :)

  3. Madam Rahmah,
    can you write the synopsis about each chapter? one by one?

  4. glamourBoyzzz,
    please check 'step-by-wicked step', pelangi publications in the bookshop. i would like to share in my blog but the copyright belongs to pelangi.

  5. What is the language and style for this novel?

    1. dear anonymous,
      you can find a complete module from the cdc on the tabs above under 'literature resources'.

  6. Replies
    1. whoever you are welcome :)

  7. hi rahmah,
    how to do the scrapbook about this novel?
    any idea for it????

    1. Dear alphard toyota,
      There are many things you can get your students to do for a scrapbook. For a start they can gather information about the author, plot, characters etc. You can even organise an inter-form competition! Award the best scrapbooks based on information and creativity. Best!

  8. uhh thanks about the information...i have a lot of troubled when read this novel :3

    1. You're welcome anonymous. In my opinion, this is not the best novel to study for the SPM although I actually wrote a book about it :) This is because there are different stories for each character.And yes, it's difficult to remember anything solid and substantial. One of the reasons is because the events that happen in the story are not significant compared to the events in 'The Pearl' (previous SPM novel) for example. I am teaching my students 'Catch Us If You Can', which I find has a neat story and stronger story. All the best!

  9. hi rahmah,
    thx for your suggestion
    another question is how would you make the ending of this story????
    Based on your opinion.....

    1. dear alphard toyota,
      You mean the ending of the stories? Well, since there are many stories in this novel, the ending will depend on each individual story. However, if you meant the overall conclusion, then I would say it's about the effects of family breakdown on children and family bond. You have to relate it back to the themes.

  10. Thanks for giving me the information about this novel. Peace out.

  11. how about moral values in richard stories??

  12. Hai madam Rahmah. This moral value for pixie right??

  13. What is robbo moral values ??


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