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The drawing of the picture, delineating the brow, hair, eyes, etc., the description of the bearing, and the final summing up,
A combination and a form indeed,
To give the world assurance of a man. It would seem to be impossible for mortal man to make a picture more vivid than is the one here presented in words by the magic art of Shakespeare.
THE USE OF WORD-PICTURES
What benefit is to be derived from the use of wordpictures?
An illustration, or picture, is quickly comprehended, and will abide with the hearer when plain facts and colorless words are forgotten. Christ did the most of His teaching by means of similitudes: “The sower and the seed,” “ The laborers in the vineyard,” “The ten virgins,” are but instances of His employment of this means of conveying an insight into difficult problems. In fact, in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, xiii:34, it is stated :
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables: and without a parable spoke he not unto them.
Henry Ward Beecher, in his sermon, “Poverty and the Gospel,” used this figure of speech:
On the Niagara River logs come floating down and strike an island, and there they lodge and accumulate for a little while, and won't go over. But the rains come, the snow
melts, the river rises, and the logs are lifted up and down, and they go swinging over the falls. There is a certain river of political life, and everything has to go into it first or last; and if, in days to come, a man separates himself from his fellows without sympathy, if his wealth and power make poverty feel itself more poor and men's misery more miserable, and set against him the whole stream of popular feeling, that man is in danger.
From what source is the speaker to take his illustrations?
From all sources: history, books, his own experience, and, best of all, nature. Emerson states the matter in this comprehensive manner:
I had rather have a good symbol of my thought, or a good analogy, than the suffrage of Kant or Plato. If you agree with me, or if Locke or Montesquieu agree, I may yet be wrong; but if the elm-tree thinks the same thing, if running water, if burning coal, if crystals, if alkalies, in their several fashions, say what I say, it must be true.
How is the speaker to make the picture so vivid that it will be immediately seen and comprehended by the listener?
By seeing it himself. The speaker must see with his mind's eye the complete picture before he utters the first word descriptive of it. He must first see the picture in its entirety and be sure of his application of it before starting on the word-picturing, and as he develops the picture step by step, or phrase by phrase, he must keep in mind not only that portion of the picture he is then describing but must retain the picture in its entirety.
This will cause his mentality to go into his voice, help him to hold on to his thought, and stamp the picture upon the minds and hearts of his listeners.
THE USE OF STORIES
Stories introduced into speeches, if really introduced and not dragged in, serve many useful purposes. They attract the attention of the audience and secure for the speaker an opportunity entertainingly to commence his remarks instead of abruptly jumping into them, like a speaker bounding upon the platform instead of walking gracefully upon it; they often express in a few words what otherwise would require a long explanation; and they also permit a speaker to retire in an effective manner from an awkward or embarrassing situation. This last point is illustrated in the following story told by Rev. Joseph Parker and used by him as a wedge to get out of a meeting without offending the feelings of the other members. It created a good-natured laugh, and this made the opening that permitted the reverend gentleman gracefully to retire.
"Now, my dear children," said the good priest, "where shall we put St. Patrick ? Shall we put him where the sapphire river rolls around the throne of the Almighty? No; we will not put him there. Shall we put him where the golden light plays around the golden city? No; we will not put him there. Shall we put him in a boat sailing over the golden lake when the angels are calling ? No; we will not put him there.” For a fourth time he demanded in a loud voice: “Where shall we put St. Patrick?” Then at that moment
a peasant called out: “Well then, shure, you can put him here, for I'm going.”
Robert Browning, in a most entertaining letter addressed to Elizabeth Barrett, under date of April 8, 1846, discoursed on several subjects, among them being the proposition that repentance must precede forgiveness, and to illustrate his idea he narrated the following story, which might be used effectively in a speech :
Some soldiers were talking over a watch fire abroad. One said that once he was travelling in Scotland and knocked at a cottage-door. An old woman with one child let him in, gave him a supper and a bed. Next morning he asked her how they lived, and she said, the cow, the milk of which he was drinking, and the kale in the garden, such as he was eating were all her “marlien ” or sustenance whereon, rising to go, he for the fun,“ killed the cow and destroyed the kale'
the old witch crying out she should certainly be starved ” then he went his way. “And she was starved, of course,” said a young man; “ do you rue it ? ” — The other laughed.
Rue aught like that!” - The young man said, “I was the boy, and that was my mother now then!”
(pierces him with his sword). “If you had rued it' - the youth said "You should have answered it only to God!”
John P. Curran, at the trial of the Drogheda Defenders, April 23, 1794, told this story, in order to make clear his views regarding the strength that exists in unity:
Upon this principle acted the dying man whose family had been disturbed by domestic contentions. Upon his deathbed he calls his children around him; he orders a bundle of twigs to be brought; he has them untied; he gives to each
of them a single twig; he orders them to be broken and it is done with facility. He next orders the twigs to be united in a bundle, and orders each of them to try their strength upon it. They shrink from the task as impossible. Thus my children, continued the old man, it is union alone that can render you secure against the attempts of your enemies, and preserve you in that state of happiness which I wish you to enjoy.
In the celebrated case of the People vs. Durant, tried in San Francisco, Cal., in the year 1895, the district attorney, William S. Barnes, as demonstrating the fallacy of direct evidence where the witness endeavors to “back up” that evidence with circumstances which existed only in the fancy of the witness, or were "manufactured out of whole cloth," used this effective illustration:
There is a time-honored story which is commonly used as an illustration in the trial of cases. It is of a will case, the contest being over its probate. Counsel asked the proponent who sealed the will and she said the testator did. She had provided the material for the sealing, but the deceased had placed the wax in the candle and had pressed the seal in her presence. Counsel then turned to the Court and said: Your worship, it is a wafer." This is the wafer in the case.
Do not the citations given in this chapter show conclusively that modern and ancient modes of constructing orations are identical, and that it would be well for all who would attain distinction as speakers to study the means employed by those who have gone before? The