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- The Evolution of Expression Vol. I - 4/20 -


adaptability to use in the first natural period of art-- expression, the Colossal period. They are selections with an easily distinguishable theme. Throughout these chapters the mind of the student should be engaged with the motif of the selection as it first catches the mind. Nothing in later study can make up for the loss of the first glow, the undefined answering response to the animating spirit of a writer's message. His differentiated meanings, his elaborations of theme for the purpose of increased force, intensity or suggestion are but useless lumber to a mind that has not throbbed in sympathy, scarce knowing why. It is just here that almost all teaching in both literature and its expression fails; there is not enough browsing--knee-deep, waist- deep,--for the pure joy of it.

CHAPTER II.

SMOOTHNESS.

At first, the student may find it difficult to concentrate the minds of his hearers upon his theme steadily and continuously. His ability to do this may come spasmodically. This irregular mental activity reports itself in unevenness of delivery; life appears in gleams not in steady shining. But with continued effort to concentrate other minds upon his subject, this unevenness gives place to ease in delivery, to smoothness of voice. Continuity of thought impels smoothness of expression. When a thought is held steadily in the mind of the pupil, together with a dominating purpose to communicate that thought to others, the tones of his voice become evenly sustained and smooth.

Smoothness may be said to result from a sense of oneness with the audience. So long as there is a gulf between the speaker and audience, there is conscious and apparent effort in the address. It is a growing love, a vital sympathy with the audience that manifests itself in smoothness.

This second step grows in natural sequence out of the first. Out of the abundance of life comes sweetness. In all the successive steps of the pupil's evolution, he is constantly to add, never to discard or lay aside any power previously gained. Rather than outgrow it, he will grow in it. All that he will outgrow will be his faults, his mannerisms, his limitations. As he gains freedom, transcending limitations, his mannerisms will fall away from him; he need never be made conscious that he has had them.

Analysis. Example, "The Village Preacher." The Unit, or Working Whole: A village preacher who radiates the spirit of love.

The student's endeavor must be to reflect continuously the overflowing love of the preacher's nature, which blessed all with whom he came in contact. The audience should feel the presence of the great-hearted man throughout the reading of the entire selection, even when he is not described. For instance, he may be foreshadowed in the introduction.

CHAPTER III.

VOLUME.

Out of the effort toward continued concentration is born the perception of values. Dwelling upon the thought and striving to hold it steadily in the minds of those who listen, the pupil begins to perceive its greater value, and to realize that the expression of this value will aid him in holding the attention of his audience. His will becomes more definitely aroused. Feeling his new power, he should be inspired to direct it definitely toward his hearers. This new element of will directed through the perception of value expresses itself in the added quality called volume of voice.

Here, as everywhere, the discernment of the teacher must be relied upon to detect the difference between true and mechanical expression. Failure on the part of the pupil to perceive what is desired may lead him to offer, as a counterfeit of volume, force or loudness. Volume of voice, free from both, is the expression of the growing appreciation of values.

Analysis. Example: "Spartacus to the Gladiators."

The Unit, or Whole: The personality of Spartacus revealed through his effort to inspire his fellows with the spirit of liberty.

The theme which Spartacus presents is of universal value--the spirit of liberty, dear to all mankind. This value must be realized by the student, who must make the effort of Spartacus his own effort, throughout the entire selection. The value of the theme must be behind every spoken word, felt, if not uttered.

CHAPTER IV.

FORMING THE ELEMENTS.

The life manifested in the three previous chapters now begins to take more definite thought form. The intellect seeing more clearly, appeals to the intellects of those who listen that they may think with greater sharpness and distinctness the thoughts presented. By aiming to present these thoughts so as to be clearly understood, distinctness and precision of utterance are gained. The elements of speech become more perfectly and beautifully chiseled. Thus keener thinking and greater care in presentation serve in forming the elements and perfecting the articulation, which need not be made a matter of mechanical drill.

Careless enunciation, which so mars the beauty of a speaker's discourse, is usually due to careless thinking. Clear speaking comes from clear thinking. Exceptional cases of long confirmed bad habits, faultily trained ears, or defects in the vocal apparatus, sometimes make technical drill to meet individual cases, a necessary supplement to the persistent practice in earnest revelation of thought. But in ordinary cases the speaker's endeavor to impress his hearers with the parts which make up his discourse will result, in due time, in accurate, distinct articulation. With continued practice this perfection of speech will become habitual. Spirit moulds form; this law cannot be overemphasized. In this new stage of the pupil's development, as always, the desired result proceeds as an effect from an inner psychological cause; it is a natural and spontaneous outgrowth, rather than a dull and lifeless form.

Analysis. Example: "The Song of the Rain." UNIT, OR WHOLE: The beneficence of rain after a drought. Here the student should hold the attention of the audience upon the distinct features of the picture presented. He should make his hearers see and enjoy the rain and appreciate the response of nature and of people to its refreshing influence.

CHAPTER I

ANIMATION.

THE TEA-KETTLE AND THE CRICKET.

1. It appeared as if there were a sort of match, or trial of skill, you must understand, between the kettle and the cricket. And this is what led to it, and how it came about.

2. The kettle was aggravating and obstinate. It wouldn't allow itself to be adjusted on the top bar; it wouldn't hear of accommodating itself kindly to the knobs of coal; it would lean forward with a drunken air, and dribble--a very idiot of a kettle --on the hearth. It was quarrelsome, and hissed and sputtered morosely at the fire.

3. To sum up all, the lid, resisting Mrs. Peerybingle's fingers, first of all turned topsy-turvy, and then, with an ingenious pertinacity deserving of a better cause, dived sideways in, down to the very bottom of the kettle; and the hull of the Royal George has never made half of the monstrous resistance in coming out of the water which the lid of the kettle employed against Mrs. Peerybingle before she got it up again.

4. It looked sullen and pig-headed enough, even then, carrying its handle with an air of defiance, and cocking its spout pertly and mockingly at Mrs. Peerybingle, as if it said, "i won't boil. Nothing shall induce me!"

5. But Mrs. Peerybingle, with restored good-humor, dusted her chubby little hands against each other, and sat down before the kettle laughing. Meantime the jolly blaze uprose and fell, flashing and gleaming on the little haymaker at the top of the Dutch clock, until one might have thought he stood stock still before the Moorish palace, and nothing was in motion but the flame.

6. Now it was, observe, that the kettle began to spend the evening. Now it was that the kettle, growing mellow and musical, began to have irrepressible gurglings in the throat, and to indulge in short vocal snorts, which it checked in the bud, as if it hadn't quite made up its mind yet to be good company. Now it was that, after two or three such vain attempts to stifle its convivial sentiments, it threw off all moroseness, all reserve, and burst into a stream of song so cozy and hilarious as never maudlin nightingale yet formed the least idea of.

7. So plain, too! Bless you, you might have understood it like a book; better than some books you and I could name, perhaps. With its warm breath gushing forth in a light cloud, which merrily and gracefully ascended a few feet, then hung about the chimney corner, as its own domestic heaven, it trolled its song with that strong energy of cheerfulness that its iron body hummed and stirred upon the fire; and the lid itself, the recently rebellious


The Evolution of Expression Vol. I - 4/20

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