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GCSE History empathy essay (by the writers of The Kennedys, aged 16)
Please write about the Kennedys, from the 1930s through to the 1960s. Try to show the ambitions of the family and their attitudes to the presidency, the Second World War and especially John Fitzgerald Kennedy's father, Joe.
It is 1960 during the presidential election campaign. JFK is running for office and he looks just like he does in those paintings you see of him. When he talks, he has a normal mid-west accent, I think, because although I've never heard JFK talking, I can't imagine he would have a memorable or distinct accent.
"Hi, Jackie, my back hurts," says JFK. "Can you help me to become president? Although it's close, I think I am likely to win and become a significant politician if you do."
"Certainly, JFK," says Jackie, who looks exactly like Katie Holmes but dressed in pink. "But first I must have my baby."
Joe Kennedy enters with Bobbie. Both are Irish so are Catholic. Bobbie talks with a strange Boston accent. I don't know why.
"Hello, my brother who is running for president," says Bobbie. "Can I help you?"
"You'd like that and so would your wife, wouldn't she?" snaps Joe in an English accent, since Irish people from Boston are very like English people, I am told. "However, I am a domineering father and I will not let that happen." Then he turns to his elder son and grimaces. "Hello, JFK," says Joe. "I am not very glad you are going to become president since I always hoped I would be president and when that didn't work out, I hoped my eldest son would become president. But he died during the war and now I hate God and you will have to do. Grr."
Joe remembers 1936 which was before the war, when he was an ambassador in Europe. He remembers it perfectly.
"I will become president by taking over from Franklin D Roosevelt," he says, looking just a little bit younger. "I will do this by ensuring that America does not enter the war that will happen in Europe in just a few years' time and give many speeches without permission saying Germany is good."
He then remembers the speech. Young JFK, who does not look much like older JFK, is watching the speech that he gives. He is not happy.
"I do not think this is a good idea. It will mean my father will not become president one day," he says. He is very wise and is both fearful and worried about his father, who is domineering.
"Be quiet. You are rubbish," says his older brother, who does not think much of his brother. "I will become president instead and you will not. Except if I die in a plane crash during the war and you will get lots of medals in the navy and have to take over from me, which will never happen."
Six months later, after many dinners, Joe cannot run for presidency because his wife said so. Then his eldest son dies. So he says to JFK, "You will run for Congress and you will have to become president because my eldest son who is dead cannot do so."
JFK is unhappy but he knows that he must become president.
Here's a trailer of what happened when they filmed that particular GCSE History essay as a $30 million TV series that almost no TV network in the world would touch with a barge pole.