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English Lit/Lang Anthology [Three Miles] Cheat Sheet by

This extract is from an American public radio programme and podcast. In this episode, presenter Chana Joffe-Walt interviews a woman who had been part of a group of students in a public school in the Bronx, New York, taken on a trip to visit Fieldston an elite private school three miles away. This has not yet come up in an exam.


About this radio docume­ntary


Genre: Radio docume­ntary
Register: Informal
Audience: Listeners of This American Life, those interested in the topic of inequality
Mode: Spoken
Purpose: to inform listeners of Melanie's experience with poverty and the inequa­lit­y/u­nequal opport­unities in the education system.
Subject: Melanie talks about running away after a trip to a wealthy school 3 miles away from her poor school in the Bronx. They address many issues, including the feeling of alienation when visiting the well-f­unded school and the frustr­ation that comes with different social classes and unequal education opport­uni­ties.


Pre-mo­difying adject­ives: "­blu­e-green hair" - creation of precise descri­ption.

Antist­rophe: "If they could see me, they'd know I'm different. You know I'm differ­ent." - her appearance is different from the norm.

Descri­ption: "­She's also wearing pink sweatpants [...] who you are, how you'll hear her" - adding details to Melanie's descri­ption to create further precise descri­ption.

Triad of lexical repeti­tion: "­She'd become a better writer, read, read, and read" - commun­icates her enthusiasm for learning. Creates pathos; doesn't stand a chance to make the most of her education due to her situation and underf­unding of her school.

Rhetorical question: "­Well, I remember going in. And I was just like, what is this? You know? Like, this has got to be a joke." - Expression of dismay at her school. Although young, she recognised the lack of opport­unity that she's facing.

Emotive language: "­Melanie was open to it. She wrote a sincere letter describing herself and her dreams." Struct­urally starts of as open/s­incere, but the story ends with refusing to be engaged with them.

Contrast between wanting to learn, but doesn't have a chance ("we didn't have a library. And I love books."­)

Adjacent: "So what happened when you went there?­" - role of interview is to maintain the topic.

Colloquial language and low-fr­equency lexis: "we looked like a bunch of hoolig­ans­" - as soon as she arrived, she feels like she doesn't belong.

Impera­tives: "­Wai­t" (more than once) - slows down the conver­sation, encourages Melanie to expand on what she's just said. Not used in a powerf­ul/­int­imi­dating way.

Anaphora: "I felt like", "I felt like" - sentences start with negative phrasing, a signal of her instant sense of exclusion.

Anaphora: "This is not", "this is someth­ing­" - changing the ending to expand on what she's saying.

Interj­ection: "You thought that when you were at Fields­ton­?", "­Woah. That's wild." expresses a realis­ation at what a child was thinking about 10-ish years ago.

Linguistic conver­gence: "So it was like when the shit hits the fan."


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