In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter. No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress. As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so. When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than once. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves. The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans.
All this was perplexing and upsetting. For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically--and secretly, of course--I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos--all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt. But I could get nothing into perspective. I was young and ill-educated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East. I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did. know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it. All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts. Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty.
One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism--the real motives for which despotic governments act (Orwell, Buscemi and Smith 7the ed. 2-3).
Being a first person narrative, the "who" of the story is Orwell himself, his antagonists are the native population and the imperial government. The "why" and the "how" of the incident are revealed as the story unfolds, but the basis for his behavior is established by examples that illustrate the conditions in Burma.
The most salient aspect of the setting is the atmosphere of antagonism in Burma under British rule. Orwell conveys this through several examples: the women who have betel juice spit on their dresses, the Buddhist priests who stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans, the the behavior of the officials and spectators at the football games. The other half of the picture is given by his description of the prisoners. Here we see the oppression and brutality that are an unavoidable aspect of imperial rule.
Together these pictures of the antagonistic atmosphere and the oppressive aspects of imperialism help to explain Orwell's state of mind. He is intensely unhappy in his job because he dislikes being the heavy hand of authority for British rule, but he despises"the evil-spirited little beasts" who try to make his job impossible. Thus, his tone conveys his distress at being caught in the middle, his uncertainty about how to respond, a sense of guilt at being part of an oppressive system, shame at his own indecisive conduct, and a sharply critical attitude toward the government he serves and the people he deals with.
The introduction does not include an explicitly stated main idea. Most narratives do not begin with such a statement. It is more characteristic for a narrative to be organized inductively so that the meaning of the events is revealed at the end of the story. In the simplest form, the meaning may be appended like the moral attached to a fable. Another alternative is for the writer to insert his main idea at some appropriate point in the flow of the narrative. This is what Orwell does in paragraph seven of this essay. He takes a "time out" to look around him and to reflect on the meaning of what is going on.
A final point to note is that Owell provides a transition from the introduction into his narration of the events. The sentence, "One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening," lets us know he will now tell what happened. Explicit markers like this are always helpful to readers no matter what kind of writing it is.
My first victim was a woman -- white, well dressed, probably in her late twenties. I came upon her late one evening on a deserted street in Hyde Park, a relatively affluent neighborhood in an otherwise mean, impoverished section of
Chicago. As I swung onto the avenue behind her, there seemed to be a discreet, uninflammatory distance between us. Not so. She cast a worried glance. To her, the youngish black man -- a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket -– seemed menacingly close. After a few more quick glimpses, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest. Within seconds, she disappeared into a cross street.
That was more than a decade ago. I was twenty-two years old, a graduate student newly arrived at the University of Chicago. It was in the echo of that terrified woman's footfalls that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I'd come into--the ability to alter public space in ugly ways. It was clear that she thought herself the quarry of a mugger, a rapist, or worse. Suffering a bout of insomnia, however, I was stalking sleep, not defenseless wayfarers. As a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken--let alone hold one to a person's throat--I was surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed all at once. Her flight made me feel like an accomplice in tyranny. It also made it clear that I was indistinguishable from the muggers who occasionally seeped into the area from the surrounding ghetto. That first encounter, and those that followed, signified that a vast, unnerving gulf lay between nighttime pedestrians--particularly women--and me. And I soon gathered that being perceived as dangerous is a hazard in itself. I only needed to turn a corner into a dicey situation, or crowd some frightened, armed person in a foyer somewhere, or make an errant move after being pulled over by a policeman. Where fear and weapons meet--and they often do in urban America--there is always the possibility of death. (Staples, Buscemi and Smith 7the ed. 260-261).
The second paragraph states his main idea: "It was in the echo of that terrified woman's footfalls that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I'd come into--the ability to alter public space in ugly ways." He paraphrases that idea a couple of sentences later: "That first encounter, and those that followed, signified that a vast, unnerving gulf lay between nighttime pedestrians--particularly women-and me." Thus, what he learns is that his mere presence can create an atmosphere of fear that sets him apart.
This lesson has a corollary: "And I soon gathered that being perceived as dangerous is a hazard in itself." Here Staples is not being paranoid. The fact that being perceived as a threat can have disastrous consequences is borne out by real incidents where innocent black men have been killed by the police.
His organization in the first two paragraphs is inductive which means that he works from the specific to the general; he presents a particular example and draws conclusions from it. But then he uses these ideas to provide the focal points for the rest of the essay, giving the whole a deductive organization.
In the second paragraph, Staples also tells us the "where" of this encounter, and although not the date, the period during his life when it occurred: his twenty-second year when he was a graduate student. Thus, as is appropriate for an autobiographical narrative, the most important orienting information is about Staples himself. The portrait he gives contrasts with the person he is perceived to be. He is not a stalker but a suffer from insomnia; he is not violent but is "scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken."
Like Orwell, who makes an explicit transition from his introduction into his story, Staples begins his third paragraph with a topic sentence that points toward the body of the narrative relating other incidents. He says: "In that first year, my first away from my hometown, I was to become thoroughly familiar with the language of fear."
Thus, the introduction accomplishes several important goals: It catches our interest; it states the main idea; and it provides orientating information about the setting and the first person narrator.
|Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us. They are hybrid creatures, neither gay like butterflies nor sombre like their own species. Nevertheless the present specimen, with his narrow hay-coloured wings, fringed with a tassel of the same colour, seemed to be content with life. It was a pleasant morning, mid- September, mild, benignant, yet with a keener breath than that of the summer months. The plough was already scoring the field opposite the window, and where the share had been, the earth was pressed flat and gleamed with moisture. Such vigour came rolling in from the fields and the down beyond that it was difficult to keep the eyes strictly turned upon the book. The rooks too were keeping one of their annual festivities; soaring round the tree tops until it looked as if a vast net with thousands black knots in it had been cast up into the air; which, after a few moments sank slowly down upon the trees until every twig seemed to have a knot at the end of it. Then, suddenly, the net would be thrown into the air again in a wider circle this time, with the utmost clamour and vociferation, as though to be thrown into the air and settle slowly down upon the tree tops were a tremendously exciting experience. (Woolf, Buscemi and Smith 7the ed. 50-52).|
The first paragraph constitutes the introduction but does not have any device that we would identify as a deliberate interest catcher. Rather, Woolf begins in an expository mode by telling about "moths that fly by day" and how they differ from their nocturnal relatives. She then focuses on the particular specimen fluttering on the inside of her window, and finally shifts her attention to the world outside.
While she does not explicitly state a main idea, Woolf does establish the two points of contrast from which she develops an implied main idea. On the one hand, she focuses on the moth, an unremarkable specimen who "seemed to be content with life," and on the other, she describes the natural world outside that can with equanimity engender or terminate such a "tiny bead of pure life."
Thus, the introduction identifies the "who" of the narrative: the moth, the animate and powerful natural world, and Woolf herself, although she is really more of an observer than an actor. We also know the "where," the countryside near the ocean, the "when," from early morning until about noon in the month of September, and finally the weather (mild and benignant, but with a hint of autumn).
Woolf does not use an explicit transition between the introduction and the body of the essay as both Orwell and Staples do. In this essay, the transitions are signaled by the shifts of focus as Woolf looks alternately at the moth, at the country outside the window, at her book, and then back at the moth again.
So with the characters and scene established, Woolf proceeds to develop the contrasts and to tease out her understanding of what the fate of the moth implies for all living beings, including herself.
|Americans are probably the most pain-conscious people on the face of the earth. For years we have had it drummed into us -- in print, on radio, over television, in everyday conservation -- that any hint of pain is to be banished as though it were the ultimate evil. As a result, we are becoming a nation of pill-grabbers and hypochondriacs, escalating the slightest ache into a searing ordeal. (Cousins, Buscemi and Smith 7the ed. 276-7).|
The second sentence states Cousins' main idea: Americans are turning into "a nation of pill-grabbers and hypochondriacs." The body of the essay then explains what has made us this way.
To hold its own in the struggle for existence, every species of animal must have a regular source of food, and if it happens to live on other animals, its survival may be very delicately balanced. The hunter cannot exist without the hunted; if the latter should perish from the earth, the former would, too. When the hunted also prey on some of the hunters, the matter may become complicated.
This is nowhere better illustrated than in the insect world. Think of the complexity of a situation such as the following: There is a certain wasp, Pimpla inquisitor, whose larvae feed on the larvae of the tussock moth. Pimpla larvae in turn serve as food for the larvae of a second wasp, and the latter in their turn nourish still a third wasp. What subtle balance between fertility and mortality must exist in the case of each of these four species to prevent the extinction of all of them! An excess of mortality over fertility in a single member of the group would ultimately wipe out all four.
This is not a unique case. The two great orders of insects, Hymenoptera and Diptera, are full of such examples of interrelationship. And the spiders (which are not insects but members of a separate order of anthropods) also are killers and victims of insects.
In the feeding and safeguarding of their progeny the insects and spiders exhibit some interesting analogies to reasoning and some crass examples of blind instinct. The case I propose to describe here is that of the tarantula spiders and their arch-enemy, the digger wasps of the genus Pepsis. It is a classic example of what looks like intelligence pitted against instincts -- a strange situation in which the victim, though fully able to defend itself, submits unwittingly to its destruction (Petrunkevitch, Buscemi and Smith 7the ed. 81-82).
The next paragraph narrows this focus by giving an example from the insect world of the subtle relationships between predators and victims. Paragraph three narrows the focus even more by pointing out that the general example just cited is not unique but applies in particular to wasps and spiders.
The fourth paragraph is the climax of the introduction. The first sentence states his main idea for the essay: "In the feeding and safeguarding of their progeny the insects and spiders exhibit some interesting analogies to reasoning and some crass examples of blind instinct." The second sentence shifts the focus of the essay to the particular case that he will describe: i.e. the trantula spider and the digger wasp. The last sentence restates the main idea, i.e. the interaction of the wasp and the spider exhibits "what looks like intelligence pitted against instinct."
These four paragraphs illustrate the inverted pyramid structure of an introduction. The writer narrows his topic from the general (every species)to the particular (trantula spiders and digger wasps)and ends with a statement of his main idea. In the process of narrowing his topic, he provides background information for the reader.
|The commentators are calling it a "remarkable consensus." Workfare, as programs to force welfare recipient to work are known, was once abhorred by liberals as a step back toward the 17th-century workhouse or -- worse -- slavery. But today no political candidate dares step outdoors without some plan for curing "welfare dependency" by putting its hapless victims to work -- if necessary, at the nearest Burger King. It is as if the men who run things, or who aspire to run things (and we are, unfortunately, talking mostly about men when we talk about candidates), had gone off and caucused for a while and decided on the one constituency that could be safely sacrificed in the name of political expediency and "new ideas," and that constituency is poor women. (Ehrenreich, Buscemi and Smith 7the ed. 360).|
No where in the paragraph is there an explicit thesis statement; however, the writer's attitude toward workfare is unmistakable. She makes her angry opposition evident in several ways. First, she attacks the concept by associating it with the seventeenth-century workhouse, an institution noted for suppressing the poor rather than ameliorating the conditions of poverty, and even suggests that workfare is reminiscent of slavery. She further attacks workfare by attributing it to a consensus arrived at by male politicians, a group whom her audience (the readers of the feminist periodical) would assume are naturally and habitually unsympathetic to women's concerns.
The choice of language reveals the writer's attitude. She shows her sympathy for the welfare recipients by calling them "hapless" victims who are being "forced" to seek work. On the other hand, the politicians who advocate workfare are "mostly men" who have identified poor women as a constituency that may "be safely sacrificed in the name of political expediency." The angry tone is the most salient feature of this introduction and prepares the reader for a strong attack on the concept of workfare.
Environmentalists use the metaphor of the Earth as a "spaceship" in trying to persuade countries, industries and people to stop wasting and polluting our natural resources. Since we all share life on this planet, they argue, no single person or institution has the right to destroy, waste, or use more than a fair share of its resources.
But does everyone on Earth have an equal right to an equal share of its resources? The spaceship metaphor can be dangerous when used by misguided idealists to justify suicidal policies for sharing our resources though uncontrolled immigration and foreign aid. In their enthusiastic but unrealistic generosity, they confuse the ethics of a spaceship with those of a lifeboat. (Hardin. Buscemi and Smith 7the ed. 368).
The second paragraph begins with a provocative question: "But does everyone on the Earth have an equal right to an equal share of its resources? This serves as both an interest catcher and as a precursor of Hardin's thesis that when the issue is survival, a well intentioned policy of equal sharing can lead to universal catastrophe.
In the last sentence, Hardin offers his own metaphor for dealing with the earth's problems of population and resources, i.e. the lifeboat. The reader is now prepared to see how the two metaphors contrast and to understand why the lifeboat metaphor is valid.
This introduction accomplishes several important things: It makes a clear statement of the position that the writer disagrees with, it provides an interest catcher by using a provocative question, it makes explicit the author's main idea, and it indicates that he will develop his argument through a contrast of an alternative metaphor.
The purpose of this book is to tell you why we believe the tragedy at Ruby Ridge occurred and why we also
believe it could happen again ... maybe even to you or someone you know. This book is not 'politically correct' or "sugarcoated", but then the tragedy at Ruby Ridge wasn't either.
There are those people who believe Ruby Ridge occurred because of paranoia on both sides, the federal government and our family. We disagree and say that what the federal government did up there only proves their paranoia and none on the part of our family. Shortly after we surrendered, federal agents asked Sara how she felt about what I had taught her concerning the government. Sara replied that the government had just proved that what I had told her was true.
We are not anti-government. We are anti bad government. At any given time there are portions of our government that are not acting according to the people's wishes. Sometimes they are even acting unlawfully. We want to trust the government but we have learned that is not always a good idea. This is a thought-provoking story. The most we can ask is that each of you come to your own conclusions.
There is an old saying, 'When the government fears the people you have freedom, but when the people fear the government you have slavery.' That is still the case today and many people do, and have, every reason to fear their government. The agents responsible for Ruby Ridge have not admitted to the truth to this day. It's very obvious to us why they continue to double-talk and cover-up. If they were to admit what actually happened, they would be in prison. It appears as though most police agents must be immune from perjury. That is so very wrong and very scary. There should be a grassroots movement to have that changed!
Many of the people whom government agencies approach to become snitches have committed crimes in the past and are offered immunity by agreeing to help catch other 'criminals'. These snitches are under an umbrella of pressure to produce results in order to get paid and they will go to whatever means necessary to achieve those results. Even if that means actually helping to create a crime so as to cause someone else to go down in the justice system. This is called entrapment and this is exactly what happened in my case. Entrapment is illegal, yet Gus Magisono is still a free man and presumably continues to snitch for the ATF while three people are dead because of his illegal actions.
People should understand that the news media can make you out to be anything they want with the use of 'buzzwords'. These are words that are designed to evoke a certain reaction. Words like 'radical" or 'white supremacist' are designed to create a negative or sinister image of a person. Various government agents and the media have labeled us as white supremacists. To set the record straight, we are not, and never have been supremacists. We can't help the fact that we were born white. A supremacist is a person who believes he or she is superior over another because of their race, religion or even social status.
You can consider us separatists both religiously and politically speaking.
A religious separatist believes in freedom of religion and believes that he has the right to worship in his own way. Also, part of that religious separatist belief is that the different races should not intermarry. As far as that belief is concerned, you could be black, white, red, or yellow.
Politically speaking, if it were possible, we would separate ourselves from much of the control that our government has placed us under. The first Europeans that came to this country didn't call themselves Pilgrims, Puritans, or Christians, but rather they called themselves separatists. They were separating from the established political and religious system of Europe. They were tired of the persecution at the hands of that system. After many years of studying, we realized that our system today isn't all that dissimilar to the systems in Europe in the past. The main difference would be that our present system is much larger and more powerful, and seems impossible to escape.
Davy Crockett once said that a good lawmaker is one that makes as few laws as possible. That has changed over the years. Lawmakers now feel that the more laws they make, the better they are doing their job. They brag about how many laws they have helped to pass and believe each law they pass is another "feather in their cap". They just can't understand or don't care, that the American people are getting fed up with it.
The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state. -- Tacitus
If nature had as many laws as the State, God Himself could not reign over it. -- Ludwig Boerne
Legality is killing us. -- J. G. Viennet
Thousands of American patriots have died to insure the freedom we take for granted in this country. A patriot is simply a person who loves and serves his country. Anyone who has a will to live is a survivalist. Anyone who takes pride in his or her heritage or ethnic culture can be a separatist. These are not bad words. Don't be fooled by media buzzwords. Seek the truth and the truth shall set you free (Weaver and Weaver 2-4).
If the purpose of this introduction is not to orient the reader to the facts of the events, it is certainly to affect their perceptions of the authors. They are interested in justifying their beliefs and in allaying the negative image created by the media though pejorative labels. They state that they are not supremacists, a word that conjures up images of the hooded men burning crosses, but are instead separatists. Here they identify themselves with those who fled England for the new world to escape the control and persecution of a hostile government. The appeal is to the American public's historical suspicion of authority and the arbitrary exercise of power.
In addition to characterizing themselves with words having positive connotations, and in identifying themselves with the American tradition of freedom of conscience and belief, they also impugn the character and motivations of the person who was responsible for bringing the power of the government against them. Thus, Gus Magisono is characterized as a criminal and a "snitch" who was paid to entrap Weaver.
The authors also seek to engender the readers' positive perception by their tone. The events at Ruby Ridge must certainly evoke strong emotions since it resulted in the deaths of two family members. But although the writers state their beliefs explicitly and condemn the government agencies and their minions, they maintain a reasoned and generally unemotional tone. (Compare this to Barbara Ehrenreich.) Their rhetorical stance is that they are not radicals as they have been portrayed but simply patriots, survivalists, and separatists, roles which are inherent to the American traditions of freedom and independence.
From the one-celled amoeba to the great bald eagle, virtually every form of animal life responds in some way to light. The simplest animals -- such as the amoeba -- react only to changes in light and dark. The night-crawling earthworm is eyeless but its entire skin is covered with light-sensitive cells; sunshine -- or even the beam from a powerful flashlight -- sends it burrowing into the ground.
More highly developed animals, such as birds and mammals, have evolved complex eye structures which register detailed pictures of the world about them. Hawks and eagles, which have the keenest sight of all, can spot a rabbit hopping through underbrush a thousand feet below them. The giant eyes of these birds of prey actually outweigh their brains. The harassed rabbit has eyes placed on either side of its head in such a way that it can see a hawk swooping down from behind. An owl has huge saucerlike eyes to help it see at night, and the eye structure of the dragonfly gives it a keen ability to judge motion. In every case, the way an animal perceives light is dictated by its particular needs -- the way it catches food, how it evades its enemies, if it flies, swims or crawls, and whether its day begins at dawn or dusk (Mueller and Rudolph 16).
The paragraph ends with the main idea for the chapter: "In every case, the way an animal perceives light is dictated by its particular needs -- the way it catches food, how it evades its enemies, if it flies, swims or crawls, and whether its day begins at dawn or dusk."
Note as well that this introduction is a good example of inductive paragraph organization (working from the general to the particular) since the statement of the main idea is a logical conclusion drawn from the examples the writers give. At the same time, stating the main idea of the chapter in the introduction gives the whole a deductive organization, allowing the reader to predict that the examples to follow will illustrate how the eyes of particular animals are adopted to their survival needs. Some of the chapter headings reflect this idea:
Good conversation is fun. It can make an evening pass as pleasantly as the theatre, movies or television.
Conversation also has more serious values. It links people together -- family, business associates, friends. It is perhaps the most important single factor in better human relations.
Good conversation aids us in that much criticised American drive to "get ahead"; but it also helps us to achieve that relaxation, that freedom from worry and care, that peace of mind and soul which we all desire.
Yet many of us, when we plan a party, spend much time preparing food and games but do not give conversation a thought. Although it is bound to be an important part of the evening in any case, we seldom plan for it. We invite guests without considering whether they will have mutual interests to talk about. In introducing those who are meeting each other for the first time we fail to mention things they have in common that can set them off on a pleasurable conversation. And we fail to prepare ourselves to take the lead, if necessary, with a topic we can count on everybody being interested in.
Even in business interviews we may prepare for everything except the very core of the matter. We may come with shoes shined, trousers pressed, fingernails manicured -- but vague about what we are going to say.
Many of us are not merely unprepared -- we dread conversation itself. Some of us are shy about meeting strangers; some of us shun working on committees; some of us avoid any conversational situation.
Where conversation is avoided it is probably because we feel inadequate in talking to others. We are afraid of repeating the mistakes we made at our first dinner party, or at our first job interview.
Those who find themselves shying from conversation would do well to examine this feeling of inadequacy and do something to remedy it.
The two most important first steps are: understanding what conversation is, and analyzing our conversation to decide what our specific weaknesses are (Gondin and Mammen 19).
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