Following Through on a Theme

Your classmate Domia abr Wyrda has written a charming tale of demonic possession at the hands of the wicked Amazon corporation, which tempts book lovers (with convenience and deep discounts) to deprive hard-working authors of the profits they would otherwise receive if Amazon treated them fairly.

DaW asked me for help planting offhand or subliminal hints in the body of the essay to remind readers periodically that they were reading not just about the benefits of ebooks, but also about a pact with the devil.

I offer you this model with material in green to highlight the many places the author could reinforce one of the essay’s important themes.

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My Amazon Obsession

I first heard about the Hatchet-Amazon publishing wars while watching The Colbert Report. It was at the height of my obsession with Stephen Colbert, so I innocently believed every word he said, and boycotted Amazon. I barely recall his objection. Was it about corporate giants trying to economically strangle each other? Or was Colbert pissed that, as a Hatchet author, he was losing sales because Amazon refused to ship his books on time? I wonder now who he was really working for. Whatever the reason, I bought nothing from Amazon and convinced my family to boycott it as well.

Then, eight hours after my high school graduation, in the Ocean County College gym, I took a detour off the path that led to nourishment from physical books.When auctioneer for the silent auction called my name I became an e-reader though I didn’t know it yet. I had won an Amazon Kindle.

I was torn between excitement and rage.  For years, I had wanted an e-reader, but not a Kindle, as I had recently been convinced to hate Amazon. How could the gods to this to me, giving me what I wanted, but from a company I had decided to despise? At least it wasn’t the iPad mini. No matter how much I was pretending to hat] Amazon, I genuinely hated Apple even more. That I had won it kept me from throwing the Kindle away, but it sat on my desk unopened for months only so I could ignore it. Then, came the summer solstice. It was on that day my life change forever. I finally opened the box.

One day my excitable but trustworthy friend Josh got me interested in the seventh chapter of  The Iron Druid Chronicles, available in paperback from Barnes and Noble. I loved the smell of books and coffee in that store, but it’s a good fifteen minutes away without traffic. I wished there was a way to own the book without risking another fender bender. And there I saw the answer on my desk, covered in dust and deliberate disuse, my Kindle.

It… was… amazing. It was so easy to use. I turned the thing on, selected a language, rejected its advice to default to some demon tongue, imputed the time zone, struggled to connect it to WiFi, turned down its offer to be a co-signer on my checking account, and then logged onto the Amazon account I was permitted to create once I agreed to receive sales offers from its affiliates. Instantly, I received an email: thirty free days of Amazon Prime, with free two day shipping: and I said “So what?” Then, another email, 500 free Amazon Store coins! That was more like it. I bought Plague Inc., my favorite mobile game, though I already had owned it on the iPhone. Immediately I was offered an entire catalog of similar games on an installment plan. But that day I resisted, put the Kindle down, and went back to playing SKYRIM.

Two days later, I was back. My hands trembling with hesitation, I powered on the device. I searched for the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles. It was there, at 62% off the paperback price! With two bonus short stories! I bought it in an instant and felt immediate shame. Within a fortnight, I had bought and read devoured all seven books. The first one tasted like ashes.

Now, I am a man addicted. Without my Kindle, I feel incomplete. I crave the Amazon Fire Phone I once scoffed at. To feed my habit, I spend at least $47.63 a month on ebooks from Amazon. They taste just fine.

I no longer care that Amazon cheapens authors or squeezes publishers. All I need in the world is the next book, the next great deal, and getting the latest fix.

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This technique works especially well in light articles where persistent thematic echoes can be humorous and welcome, but the lesson here is that most paragraphs offer several opportunities to reinforce the persuasive elements of our arguments with subtle reminders.

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels.
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