АвтоАвтоматизацияАрхитектураАстрономияАудитБиологияБухгалтерияВоенное делоГенетикаГеографияГеологияГосударствоДомДругоеЖурналистика и СМИИзобретательствоИностранные языкиИнформатикаИскусствоИсторияКомпьютерыКулинарияКультураЛексикологияЛитератураЛогикаМаркетингМатематикаМашиностроениеМедицинаМенеджментМеталлы и СваркаМеханикаМузыкаНаселениеОбразованиеОхрана безопасности жизниОхрана ТрудаПедагогикаПолитикаПравоПриборостроениеПрограммированиеПроизводствоПромышленностьПсихологияРадиоРегилияСвязьСоциологияСпортСтандартизацияСтроительствоТехнологииТорговляТуризмФизикаФизиологияФилософияФинансыХимияХозяйствоЦеннообразованиеЧерчениеЭкологияЭконометрикаЭкономикаЭлектроникаЮриспунденкция
Read the description of the first part of the examination procedure. Find the many examples of humor and mockery in Twain’s writing
The exercises began.
A very little boy stood up and sheepishly recited, “You’d scarce expect one of my age to speak in public on the stage,” etc. — accompanying himself with the painfully exact and spasmodic gestures which a machine might have used — supposing the machine to be a trifle out of order. But he got through safely, though cruelly scared, and got a fine round of applause when he made his manufactured bow and retired.
A little shamefaced girl lisped, “Mary had a little lamb,” etc., performed a compassion-inspiring curtsy, got her need of applause, and sat down flushed and happy.
Tom Sawyer stepped forward with conceited confidence and soared into the unquenchable and indestructible “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, with fine fury and frantic gesticulation, and broke down in the middle of it. A ghastly stage-fright seized him, his legs quaked under him and he was like to choke. True, he had the manifest sympathy of the house but he had the house’s silence, too, which was even worse than its sympathy. The master frowned, and this completed the disaster. Tom struggled awhile and then retired, utterly defeated. There was a weak attempt at applause, but it died early.
“The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck” followed; also “The Assyrian Came Down,” and other declamatory gems. Then there were reading exercises, and a spelling fight. The meagre Latin class recited with honor.
The prime feature of the evening was in order, now — original “compositions” by the young ladies. Each in her turn stepped forward to the edge of the platform, cleared her throat, held up her manuscript (tied with dainty ribbon), and proceeded to read, with labored attention to “expression” and punctuation. The themes were the same that had been illuminated upon similar occasions by their mothers before them, their grandmothers, and doubtless all their ancestors in the female line clear back to the Crusades. “Friendship” was one; “Memories of Other Days”; “Religion in History”; “Dream Land”; “The Advantages of Culture”; “Forms of Political Government Compared and Contrasted”; “Melancholy”; “Filial Love”; “Heart Longings,” etc., etc.
A prevalent feature in these compositions was a nursed and petted melancholy; another was a wasteful and opulent gush of “fine language”; another was a tendency to lug in by the ears particularly prized words and phrases until they were worn entirely out; and a peculiarity that conspicuously marked and marred them was the inveterate and intolerable sermon that wagged its crippled tail at the end of each and every one of them. No matter what the subject might be, a brain-racking effort was made to squirm it into some aspect or other that the moral and religious mind could contemplate with edification. The glaring insincerity of these sermons was not sufficient to compass the banishment of the fashion from the schools, and it is not sufficient to-day; it never will be sufficient while the world stands, perhaps. There is no school in all our land where the young ladies do not feel obliged to close their compositions with a sermon; and you will find that the sermon of the most frivolous and the least religious girl in the school is always the longest and the most relentlessly pious. But enough of this. Homely truth is unpalatable.
Read the description of final part of the examination. Be ready to analyze the three examples of student compositions — two in prosaic and one in poetic form. Why does the author include these in his original text?
1. Let us return to the “Examination.” The first composition that was read was one entitled “Is this, then, Life?” Perhaps the reader can endure an extract from it:
2. In the common walks of life, with what delightful emotions does the youthful mind look forward to some anticipated scene of festivity! Imagination is busy sketching rose-tinted pictures of joy. In fancy, the voluptuous votary of fashion sees herself amid the festive throng, ‘the observed of all observers.’ Her graceful form, arrayed in snowy robes, is whirling through the mazes of the joyous dance; her eye is brightest, her step is lightest in the gay assembly.
In such delicious fancies time quickly glides by, and the welcome hour arrives for her entrance into the Elysian world, of which she has had such bright dreams. How fairy-like does everything appear to her enchanted vision! Each new scene is more charming than the last. But after a while she finds that beneath this goodly exterior, all is vanity, the flattery which once charmed her soul, now grates harshly upon her ear; the ball-room has lost its charms; and with wasted health and embittered heart, she turns away with the conviction that earthly pleasures cannot satisfy the longings of the soul!
3. And so forth and so on. There was a buzz of gratification from time to time during the reading, accompanied by whispered ejaculations of “How sweet!”, “How eloquent!”, “So true!” etc., and after the thing had closed with a peculiarly afflicting sermon the applause was enthusiastic.
Then arose a slim, melancholy girl, whose face had the “interesting” paleness that comes of pills and indigestion, and read a “poem.” Two stanzas of it will do:
A MISSOURI MAIDEN’S FAREWELL TO ALABAMA
Alabama, good-bye! I love thee well!
But yet for a while do I leave thee now!
Sad, yes, sad thoughts of thee my heart doth swell,
And burning recollections throng my brow!
For I have wandered through thy flowery woods;
Have roamed and read near Tallapoosa’s stream;
Have listened to Tallassee’s warring floods,
And wooed on Coosa’s side Aurora’s beam.
Yet shame I not to bear an o’er-full heart,
Nor blush to turn behind my tearful eyes;
‘Tis from no stranger land I now must part,
‘Tis to no strangers left I yield these sighs.
Welcome and home were mine within this State,
Whose vales I leave — whose spires fade fast from me
And cold must be mine eyes, and heart, and tete,
When, dear Alabama! they turn cold on thee!
5. There were very few there who knew what “tete” meant, but the poem was very satisfactory, nevertheless.
Next appeared a dark-complexioned, black-eyed, black-haired young lady, who paused an impressive moment, assumed a tragic expression, and began to read in a measured, solemn tone:
Dark and tempestuous was night. Around the throne on high not
At such a time, so dark, so dreary, for human sympathy my very spirit sighed; but instead thereof, ‘My dearest friend, my counselor, my comforter and guide — My joy in grief, my second bliss in joy,’ came to my side. She moved like one of those bright beings pictured in the sunny walks of fancy’s Eden by the romantic and young, a queen of beauty unadorned save by her own transcendent loveliness. So soft was her step, it failed to make even a sound, and but for the magical thrill imparted by her genial touch, as other unobtrusive beauties, she would have glided away un-perceived — unsought. A strange sadness rested upon her features, like icy tears upon the robe of December, as she pointed to the contending elements without, and bade me contemplate the two beings presented.
7. This nightmare occupied some ten pages of manuscript and wound up with a sermon so destructive of all hope to non-Presbyterians that it took the first prize. This composition was considered to be the very finest effort of the evening. The mayor of the village, in delivering the prize to the author of it, made a warm speech in which he said that it was by far the most “eloquent” thing he had ever listened to, and that Daniel Webster himself might well be proud of it.
Поиск по сайту:
Все материалы представленные на сайте исключительно с целью ознакомления читателями и не преследуют коммерческих целей или нарушение авторских прав. Студалл.Орг (0.005 сек.)