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Instructional Dialogue

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This is a work of thinly disguised (or sometimes entirely undisguised) nonfiction, written as a dialogue. Usually these dialogues feature a Mr. Exposition, who either explains the topic to The Watson or debates it with a Straw Loser. In either case, Mr. Exposition's partner is supposed to be bringing up the objections or points of confusion that the reader might have. Compare Right Way/Wrong Way Pair, where a Straw Loser shows what not to do, but doesn't always have dialogue with their "right way" counterpart.


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  • Seen in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story when the Average Joes are being taught Dodgeball by Patches O'Hoolihan on a VHS tape.
  • Parodied in The Great Muppet Caper, where Lady Holiday hires Miss Piggy as her new secretary, and in the process of telling her about her next appointment exposits on her crooked and irresponsible brother Nicky and how he's probably plotting to steal her most prized possession, the Baseball Diamond.
    Piggy: Why are you telling me all this?
    Lady Holiday: It's plot exposition, it has to go somewhere.

  • Most of Sophie's World is taken up by a dialogue that summarizes the entirety of Western philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to Sartre.
  • Philosophy in the Bedroom, by Maquis de Sade, is both a instructional dialogue on his brand of libertarianism and hard core porn.
  • Oscar Wilde's essay "The Portrait of Mr. W. H." is constructed as a lengthy conversation between an older scholar and his younger disciple, to whom he is explaining his theory on the real object of William Shakespeare's romantic sonnets.
  • Xanthippic Dialogues is a bunch of instructional dialogues on, mostly, philosophy of dialogue (as in ethics, not rhetoric). It also pretends to be a lost text from V century b.c. and is quite funny.


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