Riding The Winged Horse. Part 3
But these be mere externals. The true harbinger is the heart. When Strephon seeks his Chloe and Mike his Maggie, then only is Spring arrived and the newspaper report of the five foot rattler killed in Squire Pettregrew's pasture confirmed.
A hackneyed writer would probably have said that the newspaper told the city man about spring before the farmer could see any evidence of it, but that the real harbinger of spring was love and that "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love."
2. Imaging In Speech-Delivery
When once the passion of speech is on you and you are "warmed up" - perhaps by striking till the iron is hot so that you may not fail to strike when it is hot - your mood will be one of vision.
Then (a) Re-image past emotion - of which more elsewhere. The actor re-calls the old feelings every time he renders his telling lines.
(b) Reconstruct in image the scenes you are to describe.
(c) Image the objects in nature whose tone you are delineating, so that bearing and voice and movement (gesture) will picture forth the whole convincingly. Instead of merely stating the fact that whiskey ruins homes, the temperance speaker paints a drunkard coming home to abuse his wife and strike his children. It is much more effective than telling the truth in abstract terms. To depict the cruelness of war, do not assert the fact abstractly - "War is cruel." Show the soldier, an arm swept away by a bursting shell, lying on the battlefield pleading for water; show the children with tear-stained faces pressed against the window pane praying for their dead father to return. Avoid general and prosaic terms. Paint pictures. Evolve images for the imagination of your audience to construct into pictures of their own.
III. How To Acquire The Imaging Habit
You remember the American statesman who asserted that "the way to resume is to resume"? The application is obvious. Beginning with the first simple analyses of this chapter, test your own qualities of image-making. One by one practise the several kinds of images; then add - even invent - others in combination, for many images come to us in complex form, like the combined noise and shoving and hot odor of a cheering crowd.
After practising on reproductive imaging, turn to the productive, beginning with the reproductive and adding productive features for the sake of cultivating invention.
Frequently, allow your originating gifts full swing by weaving complete imaginary fabrics - sights, sounds, scenes; all the fine world of fantasy lies open to the journeyings of your winged steed.
In like manner train yourself in the use of figurative language. Learn first to distinguish and then to use its varied forms. When used with restraint, nothing can be more effective than the trope; but once let extravagance creep in by the window, and power will flee by the door.
All in all, master your images - let not them master you.
Questions And Exercises
1. Give original examples of each kind of reproductive imagination.
2. Build two of these into imaginary incidents for platform use, using your productive, or creative, imagination.
3. Define (a) phantasy; (b) vision; (c) fantastic; (d) phantasmagoria; (e) transmogrify; (f) recollection.
4. What is a "figure of speech"?
5. Define and give two examples of each of the following figures of speech1. At least one of the examples under each type would better be original. (a) simile; (b) metaphor; (c) metonymy; (d) synecdoche; (e) apostrophe; (f) vision; (g) personification; (h) hyperbole; (i) irony.
6. (a) What is an allegory? (b) Name one example. (c) How could a short allegory be used as part of a public address?
7. Write a short fable2 for use in a speech. Follow either the ancient form (AEsop) or the modern (George Ade, Josephine Dodge Daskam).
8. What do you understand by "the historical present?" Illustrate how it may be used (ONLY occasionally) in a public address.
9. Recall some disturbance on the street. (a) Describe it as you would on the platform; (b) imagine what preceded the disturbance; (c) imagine what followed it; (d) connect the whole in a terse, dramatic narration for the platform and deliver it with careful attention to all that you have learned of the public speaker's art.
1 Consult any good rhetoric An unabridged dictionary will also be of help. 2 For a full discussion of the form see, The Art of Story-Writing, by J. Berg Esenwein and Mary D. Chambers.
10. Do the same with other incidents you have seen, or heard of, or read of in the newspapers.
Note: It is hoped that this exercise will be varied and expanded until the pupil has gained considerable mastery of imaginative narration. (See chapter on "Narration.")
11. Experiments have proved that the majority of people think most vividly in terms of visual images. However, some think more readily in terms of auditory and motor images. It is a good plan to mix all kinds of images in the course of your address for you will doubtless have all kinds of hearers. This plan will serve to give variety and strengthen your effects by appealing to the several senses of each hearer, as well as interesting many different auditors. For exercise, (a) give several original examples of compound images, and (ft) construct brief descriptions of the scenes imagined. For example, the falling of a bridge in process of building.
12. Read the following observantly:
The strikers suffered bitter poverty last winter in New York.
Last winter a woman visiting the East Side of New York City saw another woman coming out of a tenement house wringing her hands. Upon inquiry the visitor found that a child had fainted in one of the apartments. She entered, and saw the child ill and in rags, while the father, a striker, was too poor to provide medical help. A physician was called and said the child had fainted from lack of food. The only food in the home was dried fish. The visitor provided groceries for the family and ordered the milkman to leave milk for them daily. A month later she returned. The father of the family knelt down before her, and calling her an angel said that she had saved their lives, for the milk she had provided was all the food they had had.
In the two preceding paragraphs we have substantially the same story, told twice. In the first paragraph we have a fact stated in general terms. In the second, we have an outline picture of a specific happening. Now expand this outline into a dramatic recital, drawing freely upon your imagination.