ERIC Number: ED284304
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986
Reference Count: 0
"The End Could Be Just the Beginning": The Study of Relationship Termination through the Performance of Literature.
West, Richard L.; Gentile, John S.
Noting that breaking off romantic relationships can be traumatic even when the end is welcome, this paper describes the strategies and stages of relationship termination and suggests ways for instructors of oral interpretation and/or interpersonal communication classes to illustrate such relational decay. The first section deals with relationship termination strategies, identifying M. J. Cody's five general strategies: behavioral de-escalation, identity management, justification, de-escalation, and positive tone. Examples of statements made by persons using each termination strategy are included, but not examples of specific situations. The second part of the paper looks at M. L. Knapp's five stages of relationship decay: differentiation, circumscription, stagnation, avoidance, and termination. The paper notes that stages are said to be useful, but as with the strategy list, a lack of specific examples reveals a need for something more. In the third section, oral interpretation of literature is suggested as a means for providing students with concrete examples of the relationship termination strategies and stages. Passages suggested come from novels, poems, and plays such as: "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (Wilde); "Jude the Obscure" (Hardy); "Candida" (Shaw); "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (Albee); "The Lion in Winter" (Goldman) and "Brideshead Revisited" (Waugh). The paper indicates stages and strategies exemplified in each passage, and suggests that performing these scenes in communication classrooms will facilitate lively discussion and encourage the examination of the complexities of real life relationships experiencing termination. (SKC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Oral Literature; Oral Presentations; Relationship Termination