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Essay: In Praise of
Chain Stores by Virginia Postrel
1. Why, according to
Postrel, do so many critics object to chain stores? On what grounds does she
reject the validity of their objections?
2. In Postrel’s view,
how does opposition to chain stores hurt the very communities critics mean to
protect?
3. What is a “cosmopolite” (paragraph 1,9) and what other words and
phrases in the essay carry similiar meaning?
What does Postrel’s use of these words reveal about the audience she
imagines?
4. Postel spends most
of the essay expounding on the benefits of chain stores in general, but her
last paragraph suggest a more focused purpose.
How would you characterize that purpose?
5. If Postrel
disagrees with those who complain that “every place looks the same”
(paragraph 1, why does she devote her first three paragraphs to sharing the
complaints as if it were her own?
6. List the reasons
Postrel gives in support of her claim that chain stores benefit
communities. How persuasive do you find
them?
7. Other Methods What does Postrel mean by
“character” (paragraphs 3,5,10?
How is her definition of this term central to her point?
8. Point out
instances of irony in the essay. (For a
definition of irony, see the glossary)
Is the irony effective? Why or
why not?
9. Analyze Postrel’s
use of quotations . Whom does she quote
and where? How do the quotations
themselves, ad the differences among them support her argument?

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