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A Doctor's "Genre-fication"

mkarol's picture

by mkarol and xhan

We want to start this off with an exercise.

As you can see, we have the names of most of the characters from House as well as a list of seven characteristics. Everyone should break into groups of two or three, and what we want you to do as a pair (or trio) is to “define” each person using ONLY ONE of the attributes. You can just pair each number with a letter so it should only take about 3-5 minutes to do. We know that several people have only viewed a few episodes, so if you that’s the case, it might be a good idea to pair up with someone who watches the show more frequently. Otherwise, just do the best you can!


  1.  Gregory House
  2.  Chris Taub
  3. Eric Foreman
  4. James Wilson
  5. Lisa Cuddy
  6. Robert Chase
  7. Remy (thirteen) Hadley



  • a.     Caring/concerned
  • b.    Sarcastic
  • c.     Argumentative
  • d.    Diplomatic
  • e.     Mischievous/playful
  • f.       Uptight
  • g.     Eager/opportunistic

(wait about 3 minutes, ask if everyone’s done)

Okay, now we want everyone to tell us how they matched people up…

    (students shouted out their answers)

So, not everyone attached the same characteristics to the same people. Many of the characters have similar traits, or maybe display more than one of the adjectives that we’ve asked you to use. When we try to fit something into one specific space and define it using only small terms or just one word, we make it one-dimensional. The only problem is that people AREN’T one-dimensional, and neither are books, blogs, stories, movies, and so on. So to try to give a definite label to something as a genre is to ignore the other facets of the work. And sometimes when we classify something (or someone), we’re just basing it off our own experience, without any other form of that “genre” to compare it to. This means that the categorization and “genre-fication” of a piece of writing is very reliant on the audience itself and the way it is received, transforming the boundaries of genre into a permeable membrane. 


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