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re-tell it as if it had no scenes or acts; make a connected narrative of it as if it were a short story. Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare illustrate what is meant. Only the important characters should be given. Sub-plots and minor incidents must be omitted. Too frequent dialogue would prove disastrous. Modern one- or two-act plays are more easily told than the older plays of five acts.
Although re-telling a play is an arduous task, you should attempt it, for working at a diffcult thing will help you in what is easier; and, too, you will often have occasion to tell some friend the plot of a play you have read or seen.
43. Suggested Sources of Plays for Oral Compositions.
(1) The Drama (quarterly magazine of new plays).
(2) Poet Lore (new plays, literary articles). (b) Modern Dramatists—
(1) Barrie, J. M.
(2) Galsworthy, John.
(3) Gregory, Lady Augusta.
(4) Howells, W. D.
(5) Jones, Henry Arthur.
(6) Maeterlinck, Maurice.
(10) Singe, John M.
(11) Yeats, William Butler.
44. Poems. To recast a poem for an oral composition does not require so much labor and skill as to recast a play. But in changing an author's thought from poetry to prose, you cannot but cause the original piece to suffer a great loss, since much of its beauty and value depends upon its rhythm and poetic language. But in spite of this harm, many narrative poems can be turned into most excellent oral compositions.
45. A Few Poems That Could Be Told as Oral Compositions.
(1) Arnold, Matthew-Balder Dead; Sohrab and Rustum.
(3) Burns, Robert-The Cotter's Saturday Night.
(4) Byron, Lord-Mazeppa.
(5) Chaucer, Geoffrey-Canterbury Tales.
(6) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor-The Ancient
(7) Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth-Evange-
(9) Wordsworth, William-Michael.
THE SECOND FORM OF ORAL COMPOSITION
46. What the Second Form Is.-In Chapter II we saw that the second form is telling what you have already thought out and put into some logical order. Your material may come from books, newspapers, and magazines; or from conversations and lectures; or from your own experience. Your composition may be a collection of facts from a great many sources. It should be such, unless it comes from your experience.
In the second form you do for your oral composition very much what you would do for a written composition. It is original so far as the selecting and arranging of material, and the language are concerned. But instead of writing out what you have to say, you talk it out. It is more personal than the first form, because it is more the real work of the individual giving it. And since it is your own composition, you ought to tell it with more ease and interest. Not only are you not bound by some one else's selection and arrangement of material, but you are not hindered by some one else's style and diction.
47. Sources from Which You Can Get Material.(a) From books, magazines, papers, and other printed matter. Read with a purpose as to how you are going to treat your subject. You had better have
in mind some definitely phrased title, even though you do not state this exact title in your talk. Read in more than one place; the more sources you have, the better. This wide reading will prove good practice in helping you to assimilate material from different writers into a new, unified composition of
(b) From what other people may tell you. Often you can gain valuable information from lectures, conversations, and personal interviews with people who know something about your subject.
(c) From what you already know about the subject. This method is an easy and commendable way for obtaining material for your talks. If you have lived in Mexico a year, you should be able to give a good discussion on "Some Mexican Dishes," "A Mexican Bull Fight," and such topics as would interest people who had never been to Mexico. Or, if you have not traveled, and do not have a large experience to draw from, tell of some personal experience of yours. Do not think that to give a good composition you must have undergone something wonderful. Much depends on your style of telling a thing. You can take a commonplace incident and touch it with life and make it highly interesting.
(d) From what you may discover through experience. Is there accessible to you a stone quarry, a stock farm, a factory? Visit these with the purpose of gaining new, accurate, and first-hand knowledge which you are to give orally to others.
Never choose the commonplace when you can choose something better. But remember that the commonplace if well told is no longer commonplace.
48. Selecting Your Material.-No definite rules can be given as to what you are to include and what to omit. Consider your own interest, your audience, and the occasion. Then, too, do not forget your important principle in written composition-the principle of unity, that is, including only such material as really belongs under your title, points that give the hearer an impression of oneness in your talk. You should bring in nothing, however interesting it may be, which does not help to develop your subject. Let us suppose, for example, that you know how tobacco is grown, harvested, and prepared for market. Perhaps you decide to talk on "How Tobacco is Harvested," and you include in your talk an account of how the farmer knows when his product is "ripe,” how he may either cut the stalk or pull the leaves (all depending upon the soil and weather conditions), how he puts it into large and almost air-tight barns to "cure" it by means of fires built in furnaces that run along the dirt floor of the barn. Your exposition should end when you have explained how and why the farmer stores his tobacco in a large "pack-house, where it remains till he is ready to "strip" it, that is, prepare it for market. This latter process, although a highly interesting one, you should not include in your talk, for you are telling "How Tobacco is Harvested." Nor should you, under this same