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A Mile in My Shoes by Katherine Hillman 1 Someone once said, you don't really know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes. Whoever said this must have met many a person like me. Where one's shoes have been and what they have done can give you a great deal of insight into a person. I think my shoes reveal a lot about me—not only my everyday activities and hobbies, but the events that have shaped my inner self. 2 If you closely examine my shoes, you'll notice many things that connect me to what I do. I am an artist. You may see a speck of paint that fell from the brush as I worked on my latest still-life oil painting. Or you may notice a fair amount of clay, a result of my aggressive wrestling with the medium on a potter's wheel. 3 Also evident on my shoes is my major on campus. I'm a Meat and Animal Science major, and my shoes bear full documentation of my involvement in this program. The shoelaces are frayed from the sheep that chew on them while I work in the barns. The leather is marred from the hooves of animals stepping on my feet. If you're unfortunate enough, you may find something in the treads that I accidentally stepped in. 4 The exterior of my shoes can tell you a lot about what I do, but they also can provide clues to who I am and where I have been. I have always been an explorer and traveler. My father says that I was born under a wandering star. My shoes have been on my feet for many of my spiritual and physical wanderings. They've walked up into the Alps, across the cliffs of Ireland, and through 14 countries. They've been on numerous backpacking trips throughout the nation and on hikes in the northern Wisconsin woods. They've been witnesses to archeological digs and rowing regattas. They were on my feet the day I took my first hike with my fiancé and the day we took the walk that ended in his proposal. 5 So you can see my shoes have been through a lot, and they're beginning to show the wear and tear a bit. They've been witnesses to my everyday adventures and the epic journeys that have shaped my life. You could learn a lot about me by looking at my shoes, but you could learn a great deal more by walking a few miles in them. Commentary “A Mile in My Shoes” is a speech of self-introduction based on a personal object. Clearly organized and effectively delivered, it provides a fine example of how students can approach the introductory speech creatively. The ideas of the speech are fairly ordinary, but the manner in which the speaker expresses and communicates those ideas lifts the speech well above the ordinary. Specific Purpose: To introduce myself to my audience by explaining how my shoes reveal my everyday activities, my hobbies, and the events that have shaped my inner self. Central Idea: My shoes reveal that I am an artist, a Meat and Animal Science major, and a wanderer and traveler. Introduction: The introduction consists of the first paragraph. The speaker gains attention by opening with the old adage about walking a mile in a person’s shoes. She moves from the adage to note that one’s shoes can reveal a great deal about a person. Crisp and concise, the introduction leaves no doubt about the topic of the speech or the major points to be covered in the body. Body: There are three main points in the body of this speech, each of which reveals something different about the speaker. The first tells us that the speaker is an artist (paragraph 2). The second tells us that she is a Meat and Animal Science major (paragraph 3). The third tells us that she has traveled a great deal, has participated in activities from rowing regattas to archaeological digs, and is engaged to be married (paragraph 4). Conclusion: The speaker concludes in paragraph 5, in which she summarizes the major themes of the speech and provides a sense of psychological unity by referring back to her opening line. Here, as elsewhere, she chooses her words carefully and communicates them extemporaneously.
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