Part I Pre-Reading Task
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 Script for the recording:

The song you are about to hear is based on a true story. It tells the tale of the sinking of a ship called The Edmund Fitzgerald that was caught in a storm on Lake Superior back in November 1975, with the loss of all on board.

Lake Superior is an enormous lake and the wind can at times make it dangerous to shipping, whipping up huge waves. November is a particularly dangerous month for such storms. This had long ago been noticed by a local native American tribe, the Chippewa, who used to speak of how death threatened from the lake when storm clouds gathered in November. According to legend, the big lake, which they called Gitche Gumee, was without mercy in that month, never giving up those it had marked for death.

It is this legend that starts the song before it moves on to talk of The Edmund Fitzgerald. The Edmund Fitzgerald, like many other ships that sail the lake, was built to carry iron ore. Filled with ore these ships lie low in the water and can find themselves in difficulties in rough weather. So, with a full load on board we can imagine the anxiety that must have begun to creep into the hearts of the sailors on board The Edmund Fitzgerald as they felt the cold wind beginning to rise and heard the sound of it singing as it blew through the wires. For, despite the fact that the captain and crew were all experienced, "well-seasoned" as the song says, they all knew the dangers of November storms. Before long their worse fears started to come true and the storm had risen to a hurricane. The despair of the crew is captured in the words of the cook. First he comes on deck to tell the sailors it is too rough to cook, they will have to wait for their supper. The next we hear from him he is saying


- $6 - Appendix  I

goodbye to his shipmates. Water is pouring into the ship. The captain sends out a distress signal, but that is the last that is heard from the ship. It is swallowed up by the lake, leaving nothing behind but the mourning families of the twenty-nine sailors and the sound of the church bell ringing in their memory.

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