The Representative Anecdote as Corrective to Quantitative Analysis: A Study of Brian Friel's 'Translations'

Dr. Marcia Violet Godich
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This paper proposes the use of Kenneth Burke's concept of the representative anecdote as an approach to understanding human motives in counterpoint or "corrective" (Burke's term) to the scientific information provided by representative samples and quantitative analysis.

As an illustration of this approach, the essay focuses on a particular set of the human acts: those of translation, transformation, and scapegoating, as enacted in Brian Friel's tragedy /Translations (italics.)/ The author asserts that the consideration of these actions as representative anecdotes can illuminate both the psychology of language and of human behavior in humanistic terms.

In conclusion, the essay suggests several options for making use or the representative anecdote in teaching thematic courses in the humanities and social sciences as a key to understanding our common humanity.

Keywords: Rhetoric, Drama, Kenneth Burke, Translation, Scapegoat, Representative Anecdote
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Representative Anecdote as Corrective to Quantitative Analysis, The

Dr. Marcia Violet Godich

Associate Professor Communication Studies, Honors Director, Department of Communication Studies School of Arts and Sciences, East Stroudsburg University

The author has a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism, and a PhD. in Rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh; her dissertation is on the centrality of Rhetoric in the dramas of Euripides. She has been teaching in the Communication Studies Department at East Stroudsburg University for 18 years and has been Director of the Honors Program for the past 9 years. She has presented papers at the regional and national conferences in Communication Studies and at the NE Regional and National Collegiate Honors Council; she has a published article, "Kenneth Burke: First of All, a Poet" in the Annual Journal of the Speech Communication of Pennsylvania, and is currently at work on an article, "Witch hunt in an Anglo-Serbian Social Club in the McCarthy Era."

Ref: H05P0329