This week I want you to click on the three links below in order. Each link will take you to a description of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, which took place on April 14, 1865. As you will notice, each article contains a different level of description, imagery, and dialogue. The final entry, from the PBS News Hour, is the one you should use as a model for writing your research paper. Notice how this final entry sets the tone: it begins happily, which provides contrast to the events that will follow. Notice also the ways in which it adds details, like the warnings from the president’s staff and, following, the detail of the drunken bodyguard. Notice how the writer adds the description of the president and Mrs. Lincoln laughing and holding hands just as the assassin enters the room. And notice, too, the liberal use of quotations from those present, which gives the scene a real human touch.
After you’ve read these short biographies, consider the following questions for discussion:
1. What sorts of things does Howard Markel, the author of the third essay, add to the story to make it more interesting and lifelike?
2. Interestingly, Markel’s essay focuses mostly on the experiences of a young doctor. How would the narrative change if the focus were on one of the other participants in this story, such as John Wilkes Booth or Major Rathbone?
3. In addition to the ones I’ve listed above, what are some of the descriptive touches that Markel adds to the story to keep the reader engaged and interested?

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