Exercise 4

Instructions: Read the dialogue and answer the questions given below accordingly.

Martha and Diana are friends having breakfast at a local diner. Martha is reading the paper and sees a story about an entire Olympic team being investigated for steroid use.

1 Martha: I cannot believe it.
2 Diana: You can't believe what?
3 Martha: Apparently they are investigating more Olympic athletes for performance enhancing drugs!
4 Diana: Oh, is that all?
5 Martha: Is that all?! This is serious! Those athletes are supposed to represent their countries. They are supposed to live up to the highest standards of integrity and achievement in their sports. The Olympics is about reaching the highest levels of physical achievement that human beings are possible of. If these guys use drugs, then all that goes out the window. They're no better than people that cheat at cards.
6 Diana: I'm not buyin' it.
7 Martha: You're not buyin' it? How can you defend what they're doing?
8 Diana: I'm not going to say it's okay to use drugs, but look, sports is a business. All this stuff about what they are supposed to represent is nice and idealistic, but it isn't how reality works.
9 Martha: That might be true in professional sports, but this is the Olympics. It's different!
10 Diana: No it isn't. In fact, you should expect more of this kind of thing in the Olympics. These sports are lesser known, and the athletes get paid a lot less. They mostly compete for glory, and their entire future depends on whether or not they get a gold medal. A professional athlete can ride the bench and retire rich. Nobody remembers Olympic athletes if they don't medal. They don't get paid no matter what. It's do or die for them.
11 Martha: Okay, that's fine, but it doesn't change the fact that the Olympics are supposed to represent sports in its purest form. When those athletes take drugs they defeat the purpose of the whole thing.
12 Diana: I don't think you are right about that either, Martha. The Olympics have always been about national glory more than sport, and these days they are just as much about money as anything else.
13 Martha: That's just cynical. You're saying that the only reason anyone does anything is for money.
14 Diana: No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying that the Olympics is about national pride and money. People do the things they do for lots of reasons.
15 Martha: Well if that's so don't you have to admit that at least some Olympic athletes are there to test themselves in their sport at the highest level of pure competition?
16 Diana: I don't think so. I don't know why people compete in the Olympics, and really neither do you. All I've been saying is that your view that Olympic athletes compete out of some pure motive is unrealistic.
17 Martha: I just think you are wrong.
18 Diana: Why? You can't just insist that your view is correct. Where's your argument?
19 Martha: You always do this, Diana. You are impossible to talk to.
20 Diana: Oh Martha. I just think that if you're going to come on as strong as you do, you have to back it up. If I'm wrong about that, then so be it.


1. What type of dialogue is this?
2. Using the line numbers, define the opening stage, argumentation stage, and ending stage of the dialogue.
3. Who is the protagonist? Is it Martha, Diana, or both? What is the main thesis of the protagonist(s)?
4. Who is the antagonist? Is it Martha, Diana, or both? What strategies does she use to attack her partner's main thesis?
5. What rule does Martha violate at line 13? What other rule violations do you think there are in this dialogue?

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