Entertainment / Literature / Exemplum: (pluralexempla): The term exemplum can be used in two general ways. (1) In medieval literature, an exemplum is a short narrative or reference that serves to teach by way of example--especially a short story embedded in a longer sermon. An exemplum teaches by providing an exemplar, a model of behavior that the reader should imitate, or by providing an example of bad behavior that the reader should avoid. In medieval argumentation, a writer might use biblical stories and historical allusions as exempla. Often an entire medieval argument might consist of two individuals asserting exempla to prove their arguments, and the one who comes up with the most exempla is the default winner. We see samples of this type of debate in 'The Wife of Bath's Prologue,' in which Jankin provides long lists of wicked women to put the Wife in her place, and in 'The Nun's Priest's Tale,' in which Chauntecleer proves that dreams have significance by asserting a long list of cases in which oneiromantic visions predicted the future. (2) In classical rhetoric, an exemplum is simply any example that serves to prove a point whether the example is couched in story-form or not. In this sense, exempla work in a variety of persuasive ways in addition to providing a model of behavior. They can, like medieval exempla, provide a model for a reader to imitate, they can demonstrate the reality of a problem, they can serve a pedagogical function by providing illustrative examples or they can demonstrate subtle differences in categorization, and so on, and so on.
Entertainment / Literature / Fable: A brief story illustrating human tendencies through animal characters. Unlike the parables, fables often include talking animals or animated objects as the principal characters. The interaction of the MORE
Entertainment / Literature / Anecdote: A short narrative account of an amusing, unusual, revealing, or interesting event. A good anecdote has a single, definite point, and the setting, dialogue, and characters are usually subordinate to th MORE