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Humanities Libertexts

1.5: Comparing Genres, Example 3

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    5564
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    Introduction

    Once more, read through the excerpt below.  What do you notice while reading, without knowing much about the source overall?


    “CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS”

    I visited St. Louis lately, and on my way West, after changing cars at Terre Haute, Indiana, a mild, benevolent-looking gentleman of about forty-five, or maybe fifty, came in at one of the way-stations and sat down beside me. We talked together pleasantly on various subjects for an hour, perhaps, and I found him exceedingly intelligent and entertaining. When he learned that I was from Washington, he immediately began to ask questions about various public men, and about Congressional affairs; and I saw very shortly that I was conversing with a man who was perfectly familiar with the ins and outs of political life at the Capital, even to the ways and manners, and customs of procedure of Senators and Representatives in the Chambers of the national Legislature. Presently two men halted near us for a single moment, and one said to the other:

    “Harris, if you’ll do that for me, I’ll never forget you, my boy.”

    My new comrade’s eye lighted pleasantly. The words had touched upon a happy memory, I thought. Then his face settled into thoughtfulness—almost into gloom. He turned to me and said,

    “Let me tell you a story; let me give you a secret chapter of my life—a chapter that has never been referred to by me since its events transpired. Listen patiently, and promise that you will not interrupt me.”

    I said I would not, and he related the following strange adventure, speaking sometimes with animation, sometimes with melancholy, but always with feeling and earnestness.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Question for consideration:

    As you read through the passage above, what distinguishing features about the text stand out to you?

    Answer

    Features you noted might include:

    • has an unusual, interesting title
    • uses first-person pronoun (“I”)
    • includes dialogue
    • uses old-fashioned language
    • tells a story
    • introduces characters
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