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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Supporting Materials (Example)

A specific case used to illustrate or represent a group of people, ideas, conditions, experiences, or the like.

Across from a small, grassy park dedicated to Greek and Irish immigrants, Joe Cogliano, whose grandparents were Italian, sells mangoes to Hispanic customers from the back of his truck. Children play tag while chattering in Spanish on O’Brien Terrace, part of the housing project built in 1939 for Irish laborers. The pungent odor of Vietnamese fish sauce fills a Southeast Asia restaurant where Giavis’ Greek Grocery once thrived for more than 70 years.

These were the opening lines of an article in Time Magazine about the interaction of cultures in Lowell, Massachusetts. It illustrates a device well known to magazine writes – and speech makers: get the audience involved.

See how skillfully this example accomplishes the goal.It begins by focusing attention on a particular person (Joe Cogliano). It then provides details of time and place that set the scene vividly before our eyes. We almost feel ourselves there in Lowell buying mangoes from the back of Cogliano’s truck, listening to the sound of children, smelling the Vietnamese fish sauce. We would not be nearly as involved if the article had merely said, “Many cultural groups interact in Lowell on a daily basis.” The example something in us that no generalization can.

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