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process. One word suggesting another, the eye more readily seizes it. The process applies also to clauses and phrases. By means of association the mind successively anticipates the words and phrases of the discourse, and so keeps the thought ahead of the voice. These associated ideas suggested by the leading idea, especially enrich the emotional content, and, again, help the mind to realize its thought. The extent and clearness of these ideas will depend upon the mental ability, discipline, knowledge, and experience of the individual. To the child, the sentence, “The discovery of microbes is an important event in science,” means little or nothing. To the scientist it suggests, possibly, a range of ideas from the creation down to the last surgical operation in which he was interested. Such words as “flag,” “home,” “mother,” are especially, rich in association. The ideas associated with those of the previously quoted stanza may be those of patriotism, self-sacrifice, heroism. They suggest the mutual confidence, personal daring, the good sense, the secrecy and caution of the two men, and a whole train of other ideas that grow out of the time, place, and other relations. A study of the times and circumstances out of which a speech grows, meditations upon kindred themes, indeed, any broad study of related matter, puts the student in the spirit or “atmosphere " of the speech, and aids him in a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of it. This fuller use of the associational process employed by successful speakers is of obvious value. Such methods make the “full man,” out of which the best speaking comes. 8. Analyze the speech to find its emotion. The content may be further filled out by developing the emotions. Attending to the things of the imagination and to the associated ideas, aids at once in realizing the emotions; but the following treatment will be found still further helpful; for in proportion as we realize the idea, we develop its subjective or emotional side.
An idea not only gives information concerning an event or thing, but it is also the individual’s experience of that fact or event. Feeling is the subjective side of the idea. For instance, the emotion of indignation arises in connection with the idea of an act of injustice.
(1) It is of first importance to remember that emotions are the result of ideational activity. A great deal of feeble, extravagant, and insincere elocution is the result of an attempt to express emotions that do not grow out of ideas; or, which amounts to the same thing, the attempt to express emotions that are not felt. Yet it is just this extravagance that is often condemned as “emotional.” Emotional delivery is to be condemned only when it is excessive, hollow, or “theatric.” The most chaste and simple delivery is emotional as truly as is bombast. The orator's power is primarily an emotional one; there can be no effective speaking without it. It is only a question as to what emotions shall be expressed, and the avoidance of the falsities and excesses already indicated.
(2) Again, emotions grow. They gradually develop, reach their height, and then subside. Even when the same idea that gives rise to an emotion continues, the emotion periodically grows and then subsides again. Grief is an instance of this. Feelings or sense impressions, on the other hand, are instantaneous, even when reproduced in the imagination. The emotion of anger, for example, develops through the ideas that give rise to it; while the startling effect of an unexpected sound or sight, real or imaginary, is instantaneous. The practical outcome of this demands that the speaker hold the idea till the emotions are made real, and that reproduced sensations be real and vivid by concentrated attention.
No thoroughly satisfactory classification of the emotions has yet been made. Possibly Wundt's classification into (1) Excitant and (2) Inhibitory, corresponding to what Professor Bain calls affection of the active or plus side, and the passive or minus side of the mental states, is as serviceable as any.
It will not do to insist too rigorously upon all emotions coming under this classification, nor is the list to be regarded as exhaustive.
I. ExcITANT OR ACTIVE.
Among the following words, those coming after “Arroare not found in Wundt’s list.
II. INHIBITORY OR PASSIVE.
Class I. quickens the ideation, the mimetic and pantomimic movements.
action of the heart, The result of Class
II. is the reverse. Consequently the effect of Class I. on the voice is to increase the rate, heighten the pitch, and brighten the tone ; while the effect of Class II. is to slow down the rate, lower the pitch, and dull the tone. The mind is usually occupied with a complex of emotions. This fact must be kept in mind in any attempt to describe the emotional condition arising from any set of ideas. Moods are more lasting emotional states. Emotion heightened by urgent desires is called passion. A summary of hints may be given as follows:– (1) Determine the prevailing emotion, sometimes called the “spirit,” the “atmosphere’’ of the speech ; that is, whether it is joyous, patriotic, or dominated by some other emotion. (2) Note each separate emotion, naming it fear, perplexity, or otherwise as the case may be. (3) Observe that the emotions are often complex. (4) Let the emotion grow out of the idea, and wait till it matures. (5) Notice whether it is of the excitant or inhibitory class.
What has in this analysis been treated in this successive and lengthy way takes place simultaneously and instantly. This fact is a temptation to the student. In practice, he will be tempted to use this complete process, rather than first analyzing the several aspects of thinking as a foundation for the developed and full content. The result will be the usual vague and undifferentiated way of dealing with the thoughts. In live thinking there is the variety so necessary to hold attention and induce alertness. But variety results only from thought differentiation. And this is distinctly the feature attended to in the foregoing treatment. Indeed, variety is one of the objects that the speaker must keep constantly before his mind, and if the changes are to be anything but capricious they must grow out of the thought. If the method of analysis here recommended for the purpose of developing the attention and quickening the thoughtactivity may appear laborious, it is to be borne in mind that learning to speak is, at best, laborious, and requires much painstaking effort. Again, some special aspects of the process may be but little developed in the student. The thought may be dealt with too exclusively as matter of fact. In this case, analysis enables the student to pay larger attention to the emotional content. Imagination may be lacking ; in that case it may be emphasized in the treatment recommended. So the thought may be filled out, limited only by the ability and industry of the student. Long selections should be taken up and carefully analyzed according to these eight aspects of the thought process. Once again the suggestion is given to deal with this analysis from the communicative attitude of mind. It is clear that this analysis is the method applied in the production as well as in the reproduction of a speech; that is, for the writing or the preparation as well as for the delivery. It is the method, consciously or otherwise, of all effective readers or speakers. Conscious methodical preparation, however, is rare. The books have not taught it. But is not methodical and definite work better than haphazard effort? In concluding the chapter, I wish to emphasize the fact that the preparation of a selection or discourse is a growth, just as is the writing of an effective book, sermon, or oration. The brooding process is necessary. I recently asked a distinguished reader how long it took him to prepare an hour's reading. He answered, “A year!” Perfect fruit requires time in ripening. The student of speaking must have the patience to repeat and wait.