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story, page 68, and a student oral composition taken from this, page 72.) Of course, the introduction and the conclusion can sometimes be given more advantageously in the first person. (See student oral compositions on pages 72, 112.) The difficulty of attempting to re-tell the original in the first person is that you will unconsciously mix the first and third person as narrators. Another serious drawback to using the first person is that you will be compelled to employ more dialogue than by the third-person method. Dialogue is much more difficult to handle in oral composition than in written.
You will discover it to be surprisingly helpful to tell the article as if you were the composer of it. This merely means that you have digested very thoroughly what you have read, and that you are lending it that personal touch which makes your re-told account a thing of interest to the hearers. The musician who plays successfully a piece of music does so only when he has imparted to it something of his own personality. And, still further, another advantage to be derived by relating another's composition as your own is that you do away with repeated awkward references to the writer, such as "the author says," “Hodges then takes up the attitude of the tax-payers towards higher taxes," and so on.
31. The Beginning of Your Talk.—Tell, before you enter the oral composition proper, where you read your article, by whom and when it was written, and add such other preliminary information as will give
your audience an appreciative idea of your subject. (See first parts of oral compositions on pages 112 and 131.) Endeavor to catch the attention of your audience at the very beginning. Show interest and life in your talk. Do not give away at the first the point or conclusion of a joke or story.
32. The End of Your Talk.—You must know how and where you are to reach the end. To do this, you should be thoroughly acquainted with the original. Do not stumble aimlessly along till you have exhausted all you know, and then come to a flat stop. Reach a definite end by deliberate aim. Don't spoil a good ending by adding dangling explanations and summaries. It is to be assumed that your audience is following you and is intelligent enough to draw from your talk any obvious morals or conclusions. Let your tone of voice indicate that you have concluded. This last point is extremely important, and a thing you will find much difficulty in achieving.
33. The Four Forms of Discourse.-All kinds of writing and speaking are usually divided into four general classes: narration, description, exposition, and argumentation. Narration is relating events in a connected sequence. Its purpose, in general, is to entertain. Description is the presenting of pictures or impressions by means of words. Its appeal is to the imagination. Exposition is explaining. Its appeal is to the intellect. Argumentation is attempting to prove the truth or falsity of a proposition. Its appeal is to reason. For a fuller discussion of the forms of discourse, consult any good book of composition.
34. Which Form of Discourse Should You Select for Your Oral Composition?-If you have time to give four talks in the first form of oral composition, it would be well for you to attempt one in each of the four forms of discourse. But if you are limited to one or two talks, you had better choose the form of discourse you like best and the one that is easiest for you. If you are of a narrative type of mind, and prefer incidents, short stories, and novels, you would doubtless do well in telling a narrative. If you have a keen intellect for seeing into things and understanding them, then you perhaps can explain well what you easily understand. The average person can give a narrative or expository oral composition better than he can a descriptive or argumentative one.
35. Narration.-Fix well in mind the plot of the narrative the important events, the chain of causes leading up to each event, the main event towards
, which all other happenings lead, and the climax of the narrative. Determine why the author included such incidents as he did, and why he placed each one just where he did. Know his characters; regard them as living human beings of flesh and blood.
One very important element of narration you should not overlook is that of suspense, that is, the tactful means by which the author holds the interest of his readers to the very end.
Give only the main characters. Show who they are
by their names, short descriptions of them, and their acts. Do not enter into detail about minor characters when it is found necessary to bring them in. Instead of calling unimportant characters by their names, speak of them according to their rank or business in life. Do not say “Doctor Jones,” or “William Small,” but rather "a doctor,” or “the gardener.”
“ Sometimes it is advisable to follow this method in respect to your main characters.
The use of much dialogue on the part of an unskillful person is harmful. Dialogue in oral composition, as we have observed before, is more difficult than in written composition, because not only must you conform to the regulations governing written dialogue, but you must modulate your voice to suit each different character and the changing moods of that character. And, too, if you employ dialogue too frequently, you are liable to forget yourself and make it a mannerism.
36. Suggested Sources from which to Get Narratives for Oral Compositions of the First Form.(a) Magazines
(1) American Magazine.