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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Anecdote - Literary terms

Anecdote, Literary terms

Anecdote - Literary terms



A brief NARRATIVE of an entertaining and presumably true incident. Anecdotes are used in biographical writing, ESSAYS, and speeches to reveal a personality trait or to illustrate a point. In this excerpt from a newspaper article, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., uses an anecdote to illustrate a point about how culture critics view the predictions they make:


We make dire predictions, and when they come true, we think we've changed the world.

It's a tendency that puts me in mind of my father's favorite story about Father Divine, that historic con man of the cloth. In the 1930s, he was put on trial and convicted for using the mails to defraud. At sentencing, Father Divine stood up and told the judge: “I'm warning you, you send me to jail, something terrible is going to happen to you.” Father Divine, of course, was sent to prison, and a week later, by sheer coincidence, the judge had a heart attack and died. When the warden and the guards found out about it in the middle of the night, they raced to Father Divine's cell and woke him up. “Father Divine,” they said, “your judge just dropped dead of a heart attack.” Without missing a beat, Father Divine lifted his head and told them: "I hated to do it.”

As writers, teachers, or intellectuals, most of us would like to claim greater efficacy for our labors than we're entitled to.

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