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Pilcher's "The Science of Voodoo"

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Using literary techniques such as summarizing, paraphrasing, and referencing direct quotations is important in writing because each technique contributes to various elements of a text – the readability of the text, establishing credibility, and supporting ideas through facts, among others. In Pilcher’s “The Science of Voodoo,” the author uses the techniques in order to both establish the credibility of the text and support ideas by quoting other references. The direct quotations in the article were taken from primary references, which means that information was gathered directly from the source. This contributes to the credibility of the text. Moreover, the direct quotations were used to support the author’s ideas. On the other hand, Pilcher used summarizing and paraphrasing in order to establish ideas by setting examples from observations and experiences.

Pilcher formed the text by combining different facts and stories from various sources in order to set examples for each idea that the author claims. The objective of the author was to explore the scientific explanation of voodoo and how an individual’s mind influences his wellbeing. To prove this idea, Pilcher gathered stories from different sources – Vance Vander’s run-in with a witch doctor, the cause of Sam Shoeman’s death, a discussion of the placebo and nocebo effect, hypnosis, and other physiological issues. Pilcher identified different proofs that could prove how voodoo is psychological in nature and synthesized all the ideas in order to form a strong and solid argument. For each point that Pilcher discussed, an example was added to back up the claim.

As previously discussed, Pilcher used direct quotes in order to establish the credibility of the text. Quoting directly from primary sources mean that the references could be trusted because they were quoted directly from the source. Moreover, Pilcher summarizing stories and directly quoting primary resources strongly supports the author’s ideas because specific and actual examples were given. Furthermore, the summaries and paraphrases were useful in synthesizing or putting together texts so the ideas flow smoothly and coherently. Overall, Pilcher was able to achieve the goal of proving that voodoo is psychological in nature by directly quoting primary sources and summarizing and paraphrasing different primary sources to back up the author’s claims and ideas.

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