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things commingled with trivial, all scattered over years perhaps, with no key to its interpretation until long years have revealed the relations between cause and effect, between deed and motive, etc. Art, with a stroke of her magic wand, can crystalize all that into the compass of a hundred pages, and set it, with all its pertinent facts and their connections, with all petty and meaningless elements omitted, before the mind's eye, and let the imagination and the heart of man elaborate it, react to it, assimilate it, reject it, compromise with it, as best they may.
Every work of art so read and appreciated has been truly experienced. The reader's psyche has been mobilized, quickened, enriched by it. He has acquired some new element of the power to think, feel, and will, has acquired a wider insight into human conduct and affairs, suffering, rejoicing, virtue, guilt, fate, or what not, and has thereby also acquired the basis for a readier sympathy with his fellows. But all this means moral improvement, cultural enlargement, spiritual sensitizing.
I have permitted myself this theoretical excursion, because such considerations ought to have weight in determining the literary materials to be used in classes.
When the language has been learned well enough to permit some appreciation of the content of what is read (and that is the case with classes advanced enough to read Keller's Novellen), no student should be given mere trifles to waste time upon. He is entitled to a chance to form a discriminating taste for what is good by experiencing it himself. He is entitled to the benefits of as rich and universal ideal experience as the teacher can put in his way in the brief time allotted to language study. He is entitled to his chance to manifold his own life.
I conceive that a story like 'Romeo and Julia auf dem Dorfe,' or 'Das Fähnlein der Sieben Aufrechten,' or 'Frau Regel Amrain und Ihr Jüngster.' is such a picture of a section of real life, preeminently adapted to stimulate the imagination and feeling to greater and readier activity, while furnishing a body of typical knowledge of human motive and behavior worth remembering and being made a permanent possession to contemplate and to use.
Keller did not intend in Romeo und Julia to illustrate or teach the doctrine that one petty wrong done brings with it a train of consequences, which constitute a net in which the doer becomes entangled and which unseen doom-hands clutch and drag until he is completely ruined, yet some such idea is awakened, along with many others. When one has followed the fate of Manz and Marti from their conscienceless theft of an extra furrow from the Black Fiddler's unclaimed intervening field, to the purchase of it by the one neighbor, and the outbreak of the feud; when one has seen both ruined gradually by ‘due process of law' and made the scorn and laughingstock of those who had once respected them ; when one sees how the evil spreads like the strands of a malignant cancer into the surrounding whole
some tissues of society and involves Sali and Vrenchen also, however undeservedly, in the general ruin; one has acquired an insight into moral problems such as no special pleader for a given moral principle could have given.
In 'Das Fähnlein' it would be hard to formulate any single idea, yet a host of vital impressions of a moral sort are the result of reading it. In *Frau Regeľ we might say it is the glorification of human efficiency, but that would be a poor way of summing up the value of its study.
It is needless to enlarge upon the culture value of these Novellen in the field of ethics.
They owe this quality, as I have said, to their appeal to the imagination.
This appeal to the imagination rests partly upon the plasticity of Keller's thinking. The language is so concrete, suggestive, clear, completely visualizable, that it compels the mind to see objects and situations. Keller's apprenticeship in the art of painting landscapes, his training in seeing things and people as they are in sharp clear outlines, made him a master in literary painting. Take the plowing scene in Romeo und Julia, or the children trundling the cart with their fathers' luncheons, or the fishermen posted along the stream that runs past Seldwyla, the return of Frau Regel's seldwylerish husband after she has redeemed his stone-quarry and brought it into a state of efficiency, or the canoeing scenes in ‘Das Fähnlein,' or scores and hundreds of others in these Novellen, and it is certainly a very inert and doughy sort of mind which can escape their power.
Then there is the rich humor. Sometimes it is dry and may escape your notice, and again is is rollicking, and even boisterous, but never out of place. It is never sought after, never the principal thing, never purchased at a sacrifice of better things. Its relation is always that of the vine to the living oak or the solid masonry. The comic efforts of Manz' wife to please her customers, Vrenchen's imposition on the old peasant woman to induce her to take good care of her goods, the drunken capers of Ruckstuhl in the soldier's barracks, in Das Fähnlein, and the ‘alter Bursch' who at fifty years of age is jostled around and guardianed by his father of eighty, and is willing to get married after being defeated in a test of strength by Carl Hediger, most of the adventures of the ‘drei gerechten Kammacher,' and particularly the great race which was to win the hand of Züs—and incidentally her dower,--all these are typical examples of what I mean.
One might enlarge indefinitely upon these qualities of the content. One might mention the idyllic element, also the role which natural scenery plays, and discuss many other things besides, but I will not trespass on your time or patience for them.
As to the language, it has its Swiss flavor, and the vocabulary is enriched by a few local terms, but on the whole it departs but little from the best strain of modern German. We must of course protest against an equation sometimes made, namely, German=Prussian. Keller belongs to Pan-Germany, and is one of its chief ornaments, and an exponent of one of its best phases. Moreover, his language is free from that very common vice of so much of more recent prose, choppy, tortured and incomplete sentences,
On the whole Keller is deserving of selection in any three or four year High School course, and I should be pleased to see him as generally read and studied by young people as is Theodor Storm.
THE PROBLEMS OF ELEMENTARY WORK IN GERMAN.
MISS MARY MCNERNEY, FERRIS INSTITUTE.
The tendency of this age is toward practical things—the word practical has come to be one of the key-words of the 20th century, and particularly in our own country. This accounts for the elimination of Greek from the large majority of high schools, and also for the decreasing size of the Latin classes, even in our best schools. We teachers, who have grown to love the old classics can not help but grieve over this tendency and in our humble way, we ought certainly to do all we can to help those great scholars throughout the country who are striving so earnestly to arouse greater love and enthusiasm for the master pieces of Greek and Latin literature.
How long will it be before the modern languages will meet with like opposition? That word modern has helped to prevent that opposition, I think. How many of our most advanced pupils in High School and College ever have any practical use of German and French ? Is that primarily the function of foreign language work that the pupil should be able to speak the language? These are questions of great importance to those engaged in the teaching profession.
Just recently I have seen an article written in favor of abolishing the German and French from our schools, unless the method of teaching should be materially changed—it suggested this plan, that in the very lowest grades. we should have native German and French teachers for the sole purpose of training the children in the use of the foreign language, at that early age, when they would acquire them so readily. The writer asked what advantage it was for the pupil to be able to read a German story or write German sentences etc. Of course, this was probably written by an extremist, but yet it makes us pause and think, "Why did I study German? Why do I think my pupils should study it?”
Let us consider, then, the course in German offered in the average High School. It consists of two year's work and in the best High School, that must be presented in such a way that it will meet the requirements of our State University which expressly state: “The applicant should be able to pronounce German correctly and should be thoroughly familiar
with the every day facts of the grammar. He should have read about 300350 pages of standard modern prose and should be able to take part in a simple conservation in German on topics drawn from the works read. He should also be able to translate easy English prose into German."
Of course, we know that the larger number of High School students never go to college, but some standard must be and has been set. Granting this fact, what can we give to a pupil in two year's time? I believe there are three things gained: first a certain training of the mind that cannot be gained so well by any other subject-in memory, in accuracy, in training of eye and ear; second, a better understanding and use of his own language; and third, and to my mind of greatest importance, a knowledge of the German people, customs, and ideals, through their literature. If we could all accomplish that much, I am sure we would be satisfied. Perhaps you, who teach in High Schools, do not have to consider this as much as we do in our preparatory school, where the older men and women cannot understand why language should be an essential entrance requirement.
Now for a more definite consideration of the subject in question—the problems of elementary work in German,—with these aims and ideals in mind. Remember I am considering the two year's course, and I would certainly make a distinction in the elementary work for what we call the "short course” and the “long course” which would mean two more years of work in the High School.
The student who enters a German class for the first time is temporarily "at sea”; in other subjects he seems to see more relation between his previous work and his High School work, such as in History, English, Algebra etc. but in German, the difficulties seem tremendous, as he gazes upon the unfamiliar letters, and hears the unfamiliar sounds. It is as if he were in a new section of the country and we must allow him to become “acclimated” so to speak. For this reason, I believe that the teacher in this early work, should hold the class responsible for no outside work, that the class work should be very simple, a repetition of simple words and phrases, impressing on the pupils the words, first, entirely by sound, then by writing them for him in English letters, then gradually allowing him to see them in printed form. I might say here that it is absolutely essential that a teacher should have a most accurate pronunciation herself; the pronunciation of German cannot be learned by rule, it must be gained by imitation, just as English is. Unfortunately, we teachers who are not German never get the exact German accent, (I believe it is impossible, except through a prolonged residence in Germany), but we can at least pronounce German as well as foreigners who learn English. And we may be sure that any fault in our pronounciation will be repeated in that of the class. I wish that every teacher of German might, in some way, be permitted to spend a few years in Germany.
The question arises here, whether we should use the script in class work. It seems to me it should be used, if possible, but it is not essential. Most pupils in their teens are pleased to work on this; it is a novelty to them, it appeals to them, but with older pupils, I find it is very often a burden. And at a time when so many of the Germans themselves are changing, I do not believe it should be over-emphasized.
German gender is one of the greatest obstacles in the early work. A pupil may hear “der Tisch” over and over again, but in spite of it, he will say "die” or “das Tisch," without any hesitation; he feels it is entirely a question of chance. I believe that Germans, who teach German underestimate this difficulty—it is so easy for them, that they are unable to put themselves in the position of the pupil. But we, who had to “grapple with the monster” in our own training ought surely to have sympathy with fellow sufferers. I was speaking of this point once with the head of the German Department in one of the largest and best schools in the state, she herself being a native-born German, and she said that it was a continual surprise to her that pupils at the end of a two year's course in German, could state definitely the gender of one hundred words, which would be neuter in English. When I grow exceedingly discouraged with results in this line, it is always a great consolation to me to recall her words. Perhaps some of you may likewise be cheered. I sometimes try to impress upon a class the fact that they are more fortunate than those who study French, for there is no neuter gender at all, but they usually say, "Well, we could make only one mistake anyway, now we can make two." The fact remains, that we must in some way emphasize the point, for certainly no one who continually hesitates on the matter of gender can either write or speak with ease the simplest German. Of course, repetition of these common words must be made and I find no better way than the reading of a group of easy German stories such as Güerber's Märchen and Erzählungen, in which, particularly, in the first group, there is a constant repetition of common words. We must train the eye and the ear.
I have also found one mechanical device helpful-I advise the pupil to take small slips of paper and write on one side the German noun with its article, on the other, the corresponding English. In this way he can, in a very short time, get into one group, the nouns which puzzle him most and by constant drill, gain much accuracy. This same method would hold good for the vocabulary, in general, for the principal parts of verbs etc. The pupil can do a great deal of work by himself in this way, whereas usually he has to study with some one else. It also saves an immense amount of time as I have found by watching different classes.
Then the question arises as to what parts of the grammar are essential, what must be the "stock in trade” of the pupils,--there is a great difference of opinion on this point, among the best German scholars in the country as we can imagine from the variety of the German text books. I have had occasion to consider this matter very seriously in my work, for pupils