Engelsk, Idéer, Metode

Stranger Things – Argumentationsanalyse

Stranger Things er god for mange gys, grin og akavede krampetrækninger. Til gengæld er det nok ikke ligefrem påstande, styrkemarkører og gendrivelser, der står øverst på listen af ting man tænker på i Duffer-brødrenes fantastiske Stephen King-pastiche. Og det er synd, for mindst en scene er superoplagt til en sjov opgave i argumentationsanalyse.

Argumentationsanalyse - the party
For the love of nerds: Will, Mike, Dustin og Lucas i Stranger Things

I tredje sæson af serien er El, Mike, Lucas og de andre rollespilsnørder for det meste splittet op i mindre enheder, som hver især driver forskellige handlingstråde. Vennerne har pludselig fået kærester og efter en tur på science camp hænger Dustin Henderson en del ud i Starcourt Mall, hvor Steve Harrington, sammen med pigen Robin, sommerferiejobber i den lokale ice cream parlour.

Indkøbscentret viser sig selvfølgelig at være hjemsted for sæsonens skurke og de tre compadres hvirvles ind i (endnu et) sindssygt eventyr med hjælp fra Lucas’ irriterende lillesøster, Erica.

Dustin og Erica er et klassisk odd couple, som skændes hele vejen igennem deres kamp mod russiske skurke og overnaturlige fænomener. De konstante kævlerier ender dog i en lille perle af en scene, hvor Dustin indser, at Erica til trods for sin sassy attitude i virkeligheden er en giganørd – – ligesom ham selv.

Læs også: Undergrundsdigte og podcasts til din undervisning

Dustin Henderson and the Art of Logical Reasoning

Udover at være skidesjov, er scenen et skoleeksempel i deductive reasoning og det Jürgen Habermass kalder det bedre arguments ejendommelige tvangløse tvang. På trods af højlydte protester må Erica bøje sig for Dustins argumentationskæde og acceptere, at hun faktisk er en nørd.

Stranger than fiction: Dustin og Ericas skænderi om nørder er et sjovt og godt eksempel til argumentationsanalyse.

Dustin indleder sin deduktive argumentation med at opstille en Thesis Statement (You are a nerd) baseret på observationer af Fact. Observationerne danner 3 premises, hvor premise 1 og 2 fungerer som backing, mens premise 3 bliver afsæt for det næste led i argumentationskæden, der – i sig selv – udgør et logisk argument med to præmisser og en konklusion.

Argumentkæden bygger på to hjemler (warrants), som begge må siges at være anerkendte sandheder i den brede offentlighed. I første led af kæden, der tjener som backing, er hjemlen noget i retning af: Nerds are people who are extremely interested in specific subjects. Det andet led kan opstilles som en særdeles tydelig if/so-proposition: If you love nerdy things then you are a nerd.

Erica må siges at opfylde præmisserne i begge hjemler. I en alder af 10 år er hun:

  1. Extremely good at mathmatics
  2. Highly knowledgeable about political issues
  3. Carries a My Little Pony backpack
    1. Premise: The evil centaur team and Tirek turns Applejack into a dragon at Midnight Castle, and then Megan and the other ponies have to use Moochick’s magic to defeat his rainbow of darkness, saving them from a lifetime of enslavement.
    2. Premise: All the pink in the world can’t disguise the irrefutable fact that centaurs and castles and dragons and magic are all standard nerd tropes.
  4. Conclusion: Ergo, My Little Pony is nerdy. Ergo, you, Erica, are a nerd.

Læs også: An Ode to Naps: Great Non-Fiction Writing

Ineffectual Rebuttals

argumentationsanalyse - Erica Sinclair
The sassy nerd: Erica Sinclair i Stranger Things

I diskussionen forsøger Erica flere gange at gendrive Dustins påstande om hendes nørdethed. Men hun kan ikke rigtig finde nogen belæg (grounds), som kan modbevise Dustins hypotese – – faktisk kommer flere af hendes gendrivelser nærmest til at underbygge Dustins pointe frem for hendes egen:

  1. I’m good with numbers.
  2. Okay, you better take that back, nerd.
  3. But it’s not the truth.
  4. That was a pretty straightforward equation.
  5. Just because I don’t agree with Communism as an ideology…
  6. And what does My Little Pony have to do with this?

Derfor kommer hendes rebuttal til at bestå af forskellige rene postulater. Derudover har hun vist sig at være åben for det overnaturlige ved ikke at stille spørgsmålstegn ved Dustins fortælling om piger med telekinetiske kræfter, demodogs, mindflayers og portaler til alternative dimensioner.

Læs også: Experimental Podcasting #HYHGP #listencloser

The Dialogue

Du kan finde en transskription af dialogen fra hele episoden (og resten af serien) på hjemmesiden subslikescipt.com. Jeg har tilføjet lidt introduktion, karakterer og regibemærkninger for at gøre diskussionen nemmere at følge. For overskuelighedens skyld har jeg også inddelt dialogen i tre sektioner A, B og C. A etablerer konteksten mens B og C indeholder den egentlige argumentation.

A

INTRO: Dustin (age 15) and Erica (age 10) are trapped in a ventilator shaft inside a secret Russian lab where their friends Steve and Robin are held hostage. In order to escape the facility they have pass a large fan which blocks their movement. Meanwhile, Dustin is filling in the story of the insane supernatural events he experienced with his group friends in the previous season of the show.

DUSTIN: So, when we set fire to the hub, we drew the Demodogs away so El could close the gate. But now, for some insane reason, the Russians appear to be trying to reopen it, which just destroys everything we risked our lives for.

ERICA: By “we,” you’re including Lucas?
DUSTIN: Yes, of course.
ERICA (Sceptical): So, all that shit you told me, Lucas was there?
DUSTIN: Yeah.
ERICA (Incredulous): My brother, Lucas Charles Sinclair?
DUSTIN (Exasparated): Yes!
ERICA: I don’t believe you.

DUSTIN (Incredulous): Wait, so you believe everything about El and the gate and the Demodogs and the Mind Flayer, but you question your brother’s involvement?
ERICA: That’s correct.
DUSTIN (Ironical): Makes total sense.

Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 6: Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum.

B

During the argument, Dustin is desperately trying to open an electronic control box on the wall which will diconnect the large fan that prevents them from moving forward.

ERICA: Um, you need help with that?
DUSTIN: No.
ERICA (Sassy): Well, I mean, it’s taking a while, so…
DUSTIN (Annoyed): Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.
ERICA: All right, so if we don’t find a more efficient method to stop these fans, we’re never gonna find help, and your ice cream buddies [Steve and Robin] are screwed.
DUSTIN (Angry): Yeah, with that attitude, they are. Jee-zus!

ERICA: I’m just being realistic. I mean, we’ve made it about point-three miles in nine hours. Then we had to walk three hours down that tunnel, so I’d estimate ten miles back to the elevator, which should take us approximately twelve-and-a-half days.

DUSTIN (Incredulous): Did you just do all of that in your head?
ERICA (Shrugs): I’m good with numbers.
DUSTIN (has a LIGHTBULB MOMENT): Holy shit. You’re a nerd!
ERICA: Come again?
DUSTIN: You… are… a… nerd.
ERICA (Angry): Okay, you better take that back, nerd.
DUSTIN (Grinning): Can’t put the truth back in the box.
ERICA: But it’s not the truth.

Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 6: Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum.

C

DUSTIN: Let’s examine the facts, shall we? Fact one: you’re a math whiz, apparently.

ERICA (Defensively): That was a pretty straightforward equation.
DUSTIN: Fact number two: you’re a political junkie.
ERICA: Just because I don’t agree with Communism as an ideology…
DUSTIN (Picks up Erica’s My Little Pony backpack): Fact number three: you love My Little Pony.
ERICA (with defensive scepticism): And what does My Little Pony have to do with this?

DUSTIN (Triumphant): Ah, let’s recall the ponies’ latest adventure, shall we?

The evil centaur team and Tirek turns Applejack into a dragon at Midnight Castle, and then Megan and the other ponies have to use Moochick’s magic to defeat his rainbow of darkness, saving them from a lifetime of enslavement.

All the pink in the world can’t disguise the irrefutable fact that centaurs and castles and dragons and magic are all standard nerd tropes. Ergo, My Little Pony is nerdy. Ergo, you, Erica, are a nerd.

ERICA: And how do you know so much about My Little Pony?

DUSTIN: Because I’m … a nerd.

Stranger Things, Season 3, Episode 6: Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum

Assignments

Task 1 Watch

In class
Watch the scene from Stranger Things and write keywords. What does Dustin do convince Erica that she is like him? Does Erica accept this reality?

Task 2 Read

In pairs

  1. Decide who plays the parts of Dustin and Erica.
  2. Read through your lines and make special note of the emotions/tones of voice called for in the stage directions.
  3. Read the scene out loud together and perform your part according to the stage directions

Task 3 Hypotheses

In pairs
Find Dustin’s thesis statement (claim) and the facts he states as grounds for his hypothesis. Does Dustin base his argument on a deductive og inductive method of investigation?

Task 4 The Argument Chain

In groups of four

Place the Dustin and Erica’s discussion in Toulmin’s argument model:

Toulmin's argumentation model  

Answer these questions

  1. Does the scene contain more than one argument? If so how are they connected?
  2. Write warrants for the different arguments that are made in the scene.
  3. Make a list of Erica’s attempts at rebuttal. Are they effective? Why / Why not?
  4. Does Dustin make a valid/convincing argument? Why / Why not?
  5. Mark the qualifiers found in the sentence: ”All the pink in the world can’t disguise the irrefutable fact that centaurs and castles and dragons and magic are all standard nerd tropes.”
  6. What would Erica need to make an effective counter argument?

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Published by Morten Mølgaard

cand.mag i engelsk og dansk, litteraturnørd og formidler.

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