present an argument about how the specific tweet you chose relates to some specific element in the play “An Enemy of the People”


Reading: An Enemy of the People:….

In this Discussion, we turn to Twitter as a stand-in for the town meeting featured in the play An Enemy of the People. The goal here to to get a flavor of how the play’s title works as a hashtag and consider the uses to which it is put by different constituent audiences.

Caution: Though the tweets here will contain politically charged and sometimes insensitive/offensive language, this assignment is NOT meant to be an exercise in partisan politics. Instead, the goal is to analyze how contemporary public discourse (via Twitter) mirrors or differs from the type of “popular speech” dramatized by Ibsen’s play in 19th century Norway.


The filters we use for the phrases we look up on Twitter yield entirely different results. In this Discussion, I want you to consider two different data sets that show up from Twitter depending on how Dr. Halloran accessed them on 1/17/19:

  1. Googling “#anenemyofthepeople on Twitter”: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  2. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.Using Twitter Archiver (a Google Sheets add-in) to collect recent tweets with the hashtag: #anenemyofthepeople [this subsection of the data set collects tweets that received 100+ retweets or likes] (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Select ONE tweet from either archive (#1 or #2) that you feel relates most directly to any set of speeches or dialogue from the play itself. In the case of archive 1, you’ll see images, and thus you may choose to analyze how the text and the image work in tandem to convey a message about the play.

Task: Write a 400 word essay in which you present an argument about how the specific tweet you chose relates to some specific element in the play.

  • This means you need to prove your thesis in the body paragraphs, so don’t argue something obvious like “tweet X expresses feelings of outrage similar to the comments made by the village dwellers in Ibsen’s play, An Enemy of the People.”
  • Instead, make a specific claim about the significance of a tweet’s tone, the way it invokes the play’s title, or the interplay between image and words that connects specifically to your interpretation of the play, An Enemy of the People.
  • Focus your analysis on the words of the tweet and the words of the play. Don’t insult Twitter users for their politics or stated affiliations–we are doing textual analysis not name calling.

In framing your argument/thesis, consider any of the following:

  • does the tweet’s words and/or images echo the type of argument any specific character makes in Ibsen’s play? If so, explain the connection and why it is important to understand this context.
  • is the tweet echoing someone else’s judgement about who is or should be considered an enemy of the people or is it making a new claim about someone specific? Either way, explain the significant
  • does the tweet’s words and/or images point to an individual or group of people who are branded as “an enemy of the people” due to a specific action or ideology? or is the phrase “an enemy of the people” used only as a hashtag rather than in the body of the text? Explain the meaning
  • does the tweet refer to or promote a specific production of this play? If so, follow any links and figure out more details about where this will take place and what context, if any, the marketing folks provide to prospective audiences to make them want to come.