An Anecdote Analyzed: “Scots Fisticuffs Narrowly Averted”

Collected: November 5, 2009, 8:21 p.m.

Setting: Bar (sub-variety: sports)

Storyteller: Male, 35, Caucasian

Audience: Five Caucasian males, approx. 25-50 years

Topic: Fist Fighting

Transition: It is possible that the story under examination was inspired by an encounter at a restaurant previous to the narrative episode described herein. During this previous encounter, the storyteller experienced a brief, friendly exchange with an individual with whom, on another previous occasion and in the setting where the story under examination was told, the storyteller collided accidentally.

Opening Strategy: The storyteller poses a rhetorical question: “Have any of you ever been in a fight as a grownup?”

Exposition: After previewing the story climax, which will involve an assault by way of a thrown, unopened can of beer (brand unknown), the storyteller (also the protagonist) provides a general description of the setting—the portion of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, campus known as the Meadows—and the time, the evening of a football match between Scottish Premier League rivals Celtic F.C. and the Rangers. The storyteller notes that, on this occasion, he had been wearing a blue shirt, suggesting affiliation with the Rangers (inaccurate). The storyteller then introduces the antagonist: a short, drunk Scotsman carrying a bag containing two cans of beer.

Rising Action: The antagonist, upon meeting the storyteller, challenges him to a fight. The storyteller describes an ensuing brief but heated exchange during which he understands that the antagonist is inebriated to the point of being unthreatening.

Climax: The storyteller meets the assailant’s challenge by turning the assailant’s body 180 degrees so that the assailant is facing in another direction. As the storyteller walks away, the assailant renews the challenge by throwing a beer can at the storyteller, missing, thereby failing.

Falling Action: The storyteller continues walking away.

Denouement: The storyteller leaves the scene while the assailant directs his continued tirade at a lamppost.

Review:
I. Rhetorical question
II. Setting established
III. Time established
IV. Enter antagonist
V. Antagonist challenges protagonist (storyteller)
VI. Protagonist meets challenge
VII. Antagonist renews challenge
VIII. Antagonist fails
IX. Exeunt protagonist (storyteller)

Paralingual Cues: The storyteller makes frequent use of hands to indicate the antagonist’s height. These gestures convey a sense of gentleness, as though the storyteller were not describing a bellicose, inebriated Celtic F.C. fan but, rather, an innocent, frightened child.

Interruptions: NA

Comments: Several members of the audience inquire as to what the storyteller did with the beer (he walked away from it), indicating that, had they been confronted and assailed thus, they might have seized the unopened can from the ground and run away with it. The story seems directed at generating similar stories in series,

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