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The interaction of electromagnetic fields with a solid is characterized by several interconnected response functions: the dielectric function ε(ω), index of refraction N(ω), conductivity σ(ω), and optical impedance Z(ω). Here we utilize three canonical models of dielectric response -- the damped harmonic oscillator, Debye polarization response, and the Drude model -- to discuss these four optical response functions. Special emphasis is devoted to the response of a Drude metal. Our main focus is on electromagnetic wave propagation through a material. We also discuss the relaxation of charge fluctuations within the context of the three canonical models of response.