4) Anecdote Form (based on Labov)
The linguist William Labov analyzed the parts of the anecdote
3) Complicating Action & Resolution
5) Resolution & Coda
|The Birthday Surprise
[Abstract] Let me tell you about the day George, the hired man at the Gravel plant, surprised Walt with a birthday present.
[Orientation] There was this huge pile, a mountain, of oversize rock that came off the side of the washer. Too big for anything, unless we had a crusher, which we could not afford. They just sat there, smooth oval mottled gray stone, and piled up over the years, always with a few rock-hounds climbing over it, lookng for agates. You could get a full cubic yard, over a ton of this rock, for two dollars in those days.
[Complicating Action] One day George came back from lunch with a present for Dad, a birthday present, something he found at the drugstore. Walt opened it and there was this box and inside the box was a pet rock.
[Evaluation] The pet-rock fad was just starting. Now there was no difference between this pet rock and the rocks in the ovesize pile, except that the pet one had a face painted on it, a frown, with knitted eyebrows, like it was angry, and it was packaged in this box like a pet carrier.
[Action continued] George says, “guess what this thing cost?” and Dad said he couldn’t guess. “Two bits?” he says. “Two dollars!” says George.
[Evaluation: intensifier] Two dollars each he says.
[Action…] Dad stared at that rock, hefted it in his hand, and this look came over his face.
[Evaluation] I thought he was going to throw it.
[Resolution] And that look was a good imitation of the frown on his new pet.
[Coda] He turned to me and says, “Go put this on the oversize pile.”