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ANECDOTE

An anecdote is a short and amusing but serious account, which may depict a real/fake incident
or character.[1] Anecdotes can be as brief as the setting and provocation of a bon mot. An
anecdote is always presented as based in a real incident[2] involving actual persons, whether
famous or not, usually in an identifiable place. However, over time, modification in reuse may
convert a particular anecdote to a fictional piece, one that is retold but is "too good to be true".
Sometimes humorous, anecdotes are not jokes, because their primary purpose is not simply to
evoke laughter, but to reveal a truth more general than the brief tale itself, or to delineate a
character trait in such a light that it strikes in a flash of insight to its very
essence. Novalis observed "An anecdote is a historical element a historical molecule or
epigram". A brief monologue beginning "A man pops in a bar..." will be a joke. A brief
monologue beginning "Once J. Edgar Hoover popped in a bar..." will be an anecdote. An
anecdote thus is closer to the tradition of the parable than the patently invented fable with its
animal characters and generic human figures but it is distinct from the parable in the historical
specificitywhich it claims.
EXAMPLES OF ANECDOTE
Hang In There
Nicolo Paganini was a well-known and gifted nineteenth century violinist. He was also well
known as a great showman with a quick sense of humor. His most memorable concert was in
Italy with a full orchestra. He was performing before a packed house and his technique was
incredible, his tone was fantastic, and his audience dearly loved him. Toward the end of his
concert, Paganini was astounding his audience with an unbelievable composition when suddenly
one string on his violin snapped and hung limply from his instrument. Paganini frowned briefly,
shook his head, and continued to play, improvising beautifully.
Then to everyone's surprise, a second string broke. And shortly thereafter, a third. Almost like a
slapstick comedy, Paganini stood there with three strings dangling from his Stradivarius. But
instead of leaving the stage, Paganini stood his ground and calmly completed the difficult
number on the one remaining string.
To Build a Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge that spans the river tying Manhattan Island to Brooklyn is truly a miracle
bridge. In 1863, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea for this
spectacular bridge. However, bridge-building experts throughout the world told him to forget it;
it could not be done.

Roebling convinced his son, Washington, who was a young upand coming engineer, that the
bridge could be built. The two of them developed the concepts of how it could be accomplished
and how the obstacles could be overcome. With un harnessed excitement and inspiration, they
hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.
The project was only a few months under construction when a tragic accident on the site took the
life of John Roebling and severely injured his son, Washington. Washington was left with
permanent brain damage and was unable to talk or walk. Everyone felt that the project would
have to be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be
built.
Even though Washington was unable to move or talk, his mind was as sharp as ever, and he still
had a burning desire to complete the bridge. An idea hit him as he lay in his hospital bed, and he
developed a code for communication. All he could move was one finger, so he touched the arm
of his wife with that finger, tapping out the code to communicate to her what to tell the engineers
who were building the bridge. For thirteen years, Washington tapped out his instructions with his
finger until the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge was finally completed.
Who's Counting?
Napoleon was involved in conversation with a colonel of a Hungarian battalion who had been
taken prisoner in Italy. The colonel mentioned he had fought in the army of Maria Theresa. "You
must have a few years under your belt!" exclaimed Napoleon. "I'm sure I've lived sixty or
seventy years," replied the colonel. "You mean to say," Napoleon continued, "you have not kept
track of the years you have lived?"
The colonel promptly replied, "Sir, I always count my money, my shirts, and my horses - but as
for my years, I know nobody who wants to steal them, and I shall surely never lose them."
The Lion and The cougar
A pointed fable is told about a young lion and a cougar. Both thirsty, the animals arrived at their
usual water hole at the same time. They immediately began to argue about who should satisfy
their thirst first. The argument became heated, and each decided he would rather die than give up
the privilege of being first to quench his thirst.
As they stubbornly confronted each other, their emotions turned to rage. Their cruel attacks on
each other were suddenly interrupted. They both looked up. Circling overhead was a flock of
vultures waiting for the loser to fall. Quietly, the two beasts turned and walked away. The
thought of being devoured was all they needed to end their quarrel.

ANECDOTE

An anecdote is a short little scene or story taken from a personal


experience. Anecdotes can be useful for setting the stage for a speech
or personal essay. An anecdote often relays a story that can be used as a
theme or lesson.

The story below could be used as an introduction to a speech or


short story about personal safety:
"After the long Ohio winter, I was so happy to see the first signs of spring
that I ran outside as soon as I saw our first flower blooming. I plucked the
dewy, white blossom and tucked it into my hair band and went about my
day with joy in my heart. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that my big white
flower had been host to a dozen or so tiny bugs, that apparently enjoyed a
new home in the warmth and security of my hair. I was soon itching and
twitching like a scrappy dog. Next time I stop to smell the flowers, I'll make
sure I'll do it with my eyes wide open."

The anecdote provides a lead-in to the overall message of your


speech or essay. For example, the next sentence after the anecdote could
be: "Have you ever run head-first into a situation and run straight into
trouble?"

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