« PreviousContinue »
relation to something else. The light gleaming caused to stroke the goatee and the visualization from or dancing upon a pair of glasses may will be complete. A man may, if his morality easily be made to cause us to see the wearer of is assured, be made to stand upon a chair and them, or the public speaker who holds them in put up a stove-pipe. Very little detail need be his hand. The pictorial quality in the words, added to the description of a woman if she will “a man,” is very weak, but say “a man with consent to “shoo" chickens with her apron. ear-rings,” and the unusual combination causes Herbert Spencer, who rightly makes much of both the man and the ear-rings to be seen at the economy of attention as an essential in style,
The man may seem different to different has pointed out that the order of words. is an readers, but this need not worry one much at important thing In many languages, “horse first. Something is quite clearly seen, and this white” is said, instead of "white horse.” The is more than most descriptions accomplish. If former order might seem to be the better, for & man stands, looking through a funnel of "horse" is the main idea, and one might think white paper at an oil painting, nothing further this word should precede. However, Mr. is needed to describe him. The virtue in com- Spencer has called attention to the fact that binations must not be lost sight of, and much “horse" represents something definite to us, in practice in constructing them will be distinctly color as well as in form. Possibly it is a bay the most useful thing in the beginning.
horse we think about when we hear the word. An attitude may, in itself, be sufficient to in- If, then, the word “white” follows, we are sure successful visualizing. Examples may be obliged to obliterate the first mental picture we found in a baseball player about to strike, or have formed and to substitute another. If the about to catch a “fly,” or in a man who is word “white” comes first, nothing is suggested seated, looking down into his beard for gray as to form. We have in mind only a general hairs.
idea, which is held in reserve for use when the The sense of sight is not the only one a writer noun is spoken. “White horse” requires us to or a speaker may appeal to, even in visualizing. form one mental picture only, instead of formThe process is imaginative, and whatever willing one, obliterating it, and forming another. set the imagination to work is useful, for omit- So it is much better to say white horse." ted details will then be supplied. A group of In descriptions the order of details is a very farm laborers coming in from milking bring important thing. Possibly one example will with them an odor of the barn, and to mention make this clear. A person with ear-rings" will this is to help a reader see the group and to probably suggest to us a young or middle-aged give him more than the one experience of being woman. * The person was old” will make us present. The sound of the axe-strokes, coming substitute the picture of an old woman for the after one sees the axe fall, helps to visualize a picture we had already formed. If we now distant woodman. A good way to visualize a ime gine a large old woman, to say “The person grandmother is to cause the click of her knit- was little" will make us substitute another picting-needles to be heard.
All such experiences ture. “The person was a man" brings quite a are not merely contributive but valuable in different person before us; and “The man was themselves as well, for visualizing does not a sea-captain,” still another. If we should say exhaust description.
instead, “A little, old sea-captain, with earPossibly the most reliable of the modes of rings,” examination will show that only one visualizing is, after all, some unusual or strik- picture is formed. The last detail merely ing motion. One should always make sure makes the preceding detail significant and vivid. finally that a description is successful, and if We have assumed that a reader will form and there is doubt the baseball player may be made obliterate pictures indefinitely, if a poor deto slide to a base or the cow-boy may be placed scription requires it. In fact, he will not. He on his horse and made to swing his sombrero. will give up what he is reading, or will come to If a spare Yankee tin-peddler with a long yel- see nothing definitely, or some first-formed iclow goatee is not sufficiently clear, he should be ture will persist, with grotesque consequences.. The principle clearly is that all details of a vague birth ever seen in Kentucky, and the first of the famong or general nature which must be given should train of those who for a hundred years since have be given first, and the definite details which
wrecked or saved the lives of the men.
Her pink calico dress, newly starched and ironed, cause the imagination to act should come last.
had looked so pretty to her when she had started from The imagination will then work under guidance, home, that she had not been able to bear the thought and will not lead us astray or cease to lead at of wearing over it this lovely afternoon her faded, mud. all.
stained riding skirt; and it was so short that it showed, Those who have read this paper may now find
resting against the saddle-skirt, her little feet loosely
fitted into new bronze morocco shoes. On her bands it profitable to go over some descriptions from
she had drawn white half-hand mittens of home-knit; good modern literature, criticising them point and on her head she wore an enormous white scoopby point. Every detail should be considered bonnet, lined with pink and tied under her chin in a separately. Doe Does it contribute anything to the
huge white muslin bow. Her face, hidden away under description? If so, is its contribution essential
the pink-and-white shadow, showed such tints of pearl
and rose that it seemed carved from the inner surface and necessary? Is the detail in its proper
of a sea-shell. Her eyes were gray, almond-shaped, place? When is the first distinct picture rather wide apart, with an expression changeful and formed in the mind ? Is it a false picture, playful, but withal rather shrewd and hard; her lightwhich must be changed? What, throughout,
brown hair, as fine as unspun silk, was parted over her is the further course of the description in this
brow and drawn simply back behind her ears; and the
lips of her little mouth curved against each other, respect? If there is any defect, how might it
fresh, velvet-like, smiling. ---James Lane Allen: The be avoided? Are the definite, visualizing de- Choir Invisible. tails adequate? Are there too many of them? I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came Are they the best that could be found ? Does plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind the picture lack anything which it would be
him in a hand-barrow; a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown
man; his tarty pig-tail falling over the shoulders of his well to add? Can any word in the description
soiled blue coat; his hands ragged and scarred, with be improved? These and other points of inter- black, broken nails, and the saber cut across one cheek, est will suggest themselves to the student. a dirty livid white. I remember him looking round the Suitable material for such criticism will be cove and whistling to himself as he did so, and then found in abundance, in newspapers, magazines, breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often histories, essays, novels, and stories. I shall,
“Fifteen men on the dead man's chestfor the convenience of the reader, here give a
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" very few extracts for first work. If good li
in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have braries are accessible, anything by Robert
been tuned and broken at the capstan bars. Then he
rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike Louis Stevenson or by F. Hopkinson Smith
that he carried, and when my father appeared, called may be especially recommended.
roughly for a glass of rum. This, when it was brought Down it (the road] now there came in a drowsy am
to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering ble an old white bob-tail horse, his polished coat shin- on the taste, and still looking about him at the cliffs ing like silver when he crossed an expanse of sunlight, and up at our sign-board.- Robert Louis Stevenson: fading into spectral paleness when he passed under the Treasure Island. rayless trees; his foretop floating like a snowy plume An old woman, barefooted, ragged, and dust bein the light wind; his unshod feet, half covered by the grimed, leaning upon a staff, once preceded me up a fetlocks, stepping noiselessly over the loamy earth; the narrow, crooked street. -F. Hopkinson Smith: A White rims of his nostrils expanding like flexible ebony; and Umbrella in Mexico. in his eyes that look of peace which is never seen but He was about thirty years of age, with a bronzed in those of petted animals.
face, curling mustachios, and arching eyebrows that He had on an old bridle with knots of blue violets shaded a pair of twinkling brown eyes. A sort of hanging down at his ears; over his broad back was devil-may-care air seemed to pervade him, coupled spread a blanket of buffalo-skin; on this rested a worn with a certain recklessness discernible even in the way black side-saddle, and sitting in the saddle was a girl, he neglected his upper vest buttons, and tossed one end whom every young man of the town not far away knew of his cravat over his shoulder. He wore a large, comto be Amy Falconer, and whom many an old pioneer fortable, easily adjusted slouch hat which he kept dreamed of when he fell asleep beside his rifle and his constantly in motion, using it as some men do their hunting-knife in his lonely cabin of the wilderness. hands to emphasize their sentences. If the announceShe was perhaps the first beautiful girl of aristocratic ment was somewhat startling the hat would be flattened out against the back of his head, the broad brim I believe anyone who wishes to gain in abilstanding out in a circle, and framing the face, which
ity to use language will be helped by giving changed with every thought behind it. If of a confidential nature it was pulled down on the side next to
such time as he can command during the next you like the pirate's in the play. If his communication month to writing descriptions of persons. He might offend ears polite, he used one edge of it as a
· may try to individualize everyone he knows, lady would a fan, and, from behind it, give you a morsel of scandal with such point and pith that you forgave constructing descriptions that would be recogits raciness because of the crisp and breezy way in
nized by an acquaintance and that would cause which it was imparted.-F. Hopkinson Smith: A White a stranger to see the persons described. If Umbrella in Mexico.
caricature is sometimes the result, no harm is The specimens that follow are from student done. It is far easier to tone caricature down work.
to the truth than to tone the commonplace up Grandfather had fallen asleep, tilted back in his old- to anything whatever. fashioned rocker, with a red handkerchief thrown over his face and his bands lying quietly on his lap.
If several friends are interested in writing, it The deacon rode his wheel sedately, with eyes fixed will be most useful to meet for discussion of their intently upon the road in front and his coat-tails care- work. Every fault corrected is a gain. If a fully pinned up behind.
child misspells a word, it is not progressing if it In the middle of a white bed in his white night-gown a little boy on his knees, his hands palm to palm before misspells the same word a thousand times. For his face, was saying his evening prayer.
a like reason, it is well to have all defects in the It can not be said too positively that no
art of expression pointed out as early as possible. course of lectures or series of papers or library
Since students are often asked to write a of books, however carefully studied, ever
given number of words for an exercise, it may taught anyone to write or ever will. There is be best to say that an effort to do this is not even yet no royal road to knowledge, and what likely to be found helpful. If ten words suffice ever is really learned is most truly self-taught for an accurate and vivid description, eleven So one can learn to write only by writing.
would be a blunder if not a crime. If ten Writing carefully is far better than writing pages are written and a reader can not see the much. The practice should be systematic, and
man described, the work clearly has not been directed toward some end. The teacher of done.
done. Covering paper with words is not in it. painting does not say: “Paint every day. No
self a laudable achievement, and the Englis matter what, but paint something." Such di- language is too good a thing to waste. One rections are antiquated in history, in science, should write until one's purpose is accomand in everything but writing. It may do no
plished. This is important. And when that is harm to experiment with a less haphazard proc- done, it is just as important to stop. ess even here.
C. F. ANSLEY.
CHILD STUDY DEPARTMENT
G. W.A. LUCKEY, Editor.
HE report of a lecture by Prof. Earl Barnes with the answers given by American children
on “Childish Ideals” found in “The Ed- he is able to draw several generalizations of
ucational Times," London, Eng., is of interest to teacher and parents. sufficient interest to American readers to bear Half of the children at eight find their ideal republishing. Professor Barnes has gathered character in some local personage. With adthe answers of 2,100 London children to the vancing years they tend to reach out for their question, "What person of whom you have ever ideals toward some public or historical characheard would you most wish to be like? Why?” ter. As you know, it is the tendency of every In classifying the answers and comparing them one to become like the individual who represents his ideal. For this reason it is important noble teachers, and yet, notwithstanding the to know who represents the child's ideal, that amount of truth embodied in the movement, we may be able to counteract influences that are some of the views and practices of even acdetrimental.
knowledged leaders are wholly wrong and Everyone interested in the training of children should not be continued.
should not be continued. The success of the is interested in the kindergarten. But the true
But the true kindergarten depends upon these factors, first, place of the kindergarten in a complete system because it is founded on truth and in harmony of education has not been determined. Whether with the laws of development; second, because it is to take the place of the home, or of of the persons who enter the work for the love the primary school, to bridge a chasm be- of humanity and are willing to make any sacritween the two, or simply to help in the culture fice in order to be more helpful; and, third, of those children that lack the influence of because of the good common sense of the intelligent mothers or proper home surround- American people when once the problem is ings are questions upon which there is as yet placed clearly before then. but little uniformity of answers.
Again, shall Everyone who is truly interested in child study the kindergarten be a real garden where is interested in the kindergarten and vice versa. children are to be brought into living contact The two movements have so much in common with their first great teacher--nature; and shall that they are sure to become mutually helpwe be satisfied with anything else? Or, shall ful, the one enforcing the other. It is for this it simply be a place to house up little children reason that we have planned to give during the and bring them a few years earlier under the year several articles bearing on the kindergarten direct influence of instruction? Judging from in the hope of stimulating the true spirit of both the schools as they now exist, the latter too child study and kindergarten practices. often seems to be the main purpose, and herein We begin by giving the abstracts of two lies the reason for much of the criticism of the papers, read before the kindergarten section of kindergarten. Among intelligent people the the N. E. A., Washington, D. C., which we betendency now is, and I believe always will be, lieve to be of special interest to all teachers. to put off the real confinement of school work “Children's Gardens," by Dr. Jenny B. Merrill, as long as possible, i. l., to raise rather than kindergarten supervisor, New York City Public to lower the minimum age of school attendance. Schools, is especially interesting and suggestive. The free untrammeled activity of the child with We regret that we are unable to publish the ensufficient exercise and nourishment to give tire paper. "The paper by Mrs. Maria Kraushealth, strength, and growth to the body will Boelté, principal of the Kraus Seminary for the do more to develop originality and character Training of Kindergartners, Hotel San Reino, than all the teaching in Christendom. Indi- New York City; shows careful preparation, and rectly systematizing the child's play and lead- we are pleased to be able to present so full an ing him through suggestions to see more and to abstract. express more fully his ideas may be of great One of the papers read before the Child service, but to allow the work to degenerate Study section of the N. E. A., Washington, D. into the mere teaching of facts can not be C., which attracted considerable attention was too severely criticised. The physical health, given by Edwin G. Dexter, on “the Influence growth, and spontaneous activity of children of the Weather upon the Activities of Chilare of supreme importance for the first eight or dren." This paper is the result of a carefu ten years at least. For this reason, it seems to study to determine the relation between the me that every true kindergartner should insist frequency or prevalence of misdemeanors in upon arrangements by means of which she the public schools, and definitely determined could live with her children most of the time in meteorological conditions. What effect have the open air in direct contact with nature. changes in the weather upon the school life and
Any criticism of the kindergarten is sure to moral activities of children? Are “bad days” do injustice to many worthy advocates and o “blue Mondays” accountable in part or wholly upon barometric changes? The paper but soon changed to English, also the instrucis suggestive, and opens, I believe, a very prof- tion in the school. itable field for study. It will cause many teach- The attention of the Milwaukee school board, ers and parents to hesitate in condemning a common council, chamber of commerce, state child off-hand for his misdemeanors.
legislature and officials, friends of education How shall the state properly care for and ed
and philanthropists was drawn to the method ucate its defective children is a question of illustrated by Professor Stettner's school. much importance to every citizen. This work
It was at first thought that the state school has usually been carried on by separate institu- for the deaf at Delavan might be utilized in tions for the education of the deaf, the blind, spreading the method, but the dominance of the the feeble minded, etc. This system has been sign and finger spelling methods and other unseverely criticised, and especially so in case of favorable conditions were discouraging. It was the deaf; first, because it takes these children therefore thought to establish in Milwaukee a away from home influence at an age when they separate state school devoted exclusively to the need it greatly, or, if they wait and enter the
pure oral or German method. This plan ininstitution later, they have lost the best years volved the erection of buildings and mainteof their lives for language learning; and, sec- nance at heavy cost to the state which it was ond, by this plan of centralization the defect
desirable to avoid. ives have been isolated and made a class by The Horace Man School for the Deaf in themselves, losing the many practical le-sons to Boston having been brought to notice, it was be gained by association with their more fortu- decided to establish a school in Milwaukee on a nate brothers and sisters. The state of Wis
similar plan, with state aid. A bill for this consin seems to have solved the problem satis- purpose was introduced into the legislature in factorily by a system of decentralization, 1883, but received little support, because it was whereby the defectives are to be cared for in
thought that it would only benefit Milwaukee. their own community by means of small an- At the next session of the legislature the bill nexes to the public schools. In these, five or was amended to apply to all incorporated cities more defectives can have a special teacher and and villages in the state, free to all deaf children attend school in their own neighborhood, be residents of the state. In that form it promised with normal children, and live at their own general benefit to the state at large, and gained homes. A description of the Wisconsin plan much support but failed of passage for want of is given in another column by Robt. C. Spencer time. About this time the famous Memoir of under the head of “The Day Schools of Wis- Dr. Alexander Graham Bell on “The Formaconsin.” It is to be hoped that other states tion of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race" will examine the plan and if it is found feasible was published by Congress. adopt it.
The startling scientific and sociological con
clusion which Dr. Bell reached strongly tended The Day Schools of Wisconsin
to show how wrong were the prevailing methods The Wisconsin System of Public Day Schools of dealing with and educating the deaf and how for the Deaf with state aid originated in a sad some of the consequences.
Soon thereafter movement to promote and spread the pure oral his attention was called to the Wisconsin bill or German method of their education.
for public day schools for the deaf with state It began in Milwaukee in 1877 with a small aid, which immediately enlisted his deep interest private day and boarding school taught by Prof. as affording a remedy for the evils of which his Adam Stettner in the German language. To Memoir treated. foster and encourage this school and bring the At the session in 1885 through its committees method to general notice an incorporated so- and the governor, Dr. Bell was invited to preciety was formed in 1878 under the title of the sent his views to the legislature regarding the Wisconsin Phonological Institute, which con- bill, which he did under the following title: ducted its proceedings in the German language, “An open letter concerning the bill relating to