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Exposition consists in setting forth the attributes of any subject, in presenting doctrines, principles, or views, for the instruction of others. The subjects of which it treats may be divided into, Scientific and Moral. Scientific Exposition expounds truth without reference to right or wrong; Moral Exposition deals with human actions and duties.
The chief kinds of Exposition may be classed under (1) Essays, (2) Treatises.
An Essay is a modest attempt to state the author's views on a subject. It does not particularly aim at being formal or complete, but rather at giving the writer's general thoughts in an easy, but intelligent and interesting manner.
Editorials, Reviews, Criticisms, are species of the Essay.
AN EDITORIAL is a short essay on any subject. It contains the opinion of the editor of a newspaper on some current topic.
REVIEWS resemble Editorials, but they deal with a subject at much greater length. They generally contain a pretty exhaustive examination of the opinions or statements of the articles considered.
CRITICISMS differ from Reviews in being written for the purpose of determining how far a work follows the principles on which it presumes to be constructed. They exhibit alike defects and excellences.
The Thoughts. — In Narration and Description the materials are obtained chiefly through the five senses, but in Exposition they are the product of the reasoning faculty. Hence, in a composition of this class, the chief difficulty with beginners is to find the thoughts. In seeking for and arranging them, the means indicated in the Lesson on Themes are to be pursued.
The Parts. - In the Introduction is placed the formal statement of the principles or views to be unfolded; the Discussion,
or body of the composition, contains the methodical development of the subject; and the Conclusion, a summary of the whole.
Method. - It is not to be expected that young persons, such as those who study these pages, are attempting to master all the principles upon which the various sciences are expounded; but that they may be moving on right lines so far as they go, a few points in the method of exposition are here mentioned.
1. In expounding a subject it is necessary to divide it into parts. The divisions must be
a. Distinct, so that they do not overlap each other.
b. Exhaustive, so that they embrace the whole subject. In the Essay this is not essential.
2. After the plan of discussion has been sketched, the subject must be expounded part by part.
3. If it is necessary to subdivide any part, the rules above must be observed.
4. The principle, or leading thought, of each part or subordinate part must be clearly stated.
5. In expounding the general principles under each head the following devices assist :
a. Repeating them in other words, in other forms, or under other figures of speech.
b. Obverse iteration, that is, expressing the same idea from the opposite point of view : as, “ The day is bright"; "The day is not gloomy."
c. The various means of illustration mentioned on page 236.
d. Drawing inferences to show the effect of the principles when carried to their logical conclusions.
e. Applying the views expounded to particular cases so as to illustrate their practical effect.
Style. — As clearness is the chief object to be attained, the language should be plain and the style neat and concise. point should, when practicable, be illustrated by examples, and strengthened by quotations.
FRAMEWORK. I. INTRODUCTION : The mind is subject to various ebullitions
of feeling. JI. DISCUSSION :
1. What Anger is.
a. A feeling of displeasure against wrong.
C. In its intensity it resembles madness.
a. It carries the mind beyond the control of reason. b. It leads a person to say and do unreasonable
things. Illustrations. C. It may cause a man to injure his own cause, or
even himself. Examples. III. CONCLUSION : As all feelings grow if uncurbed, we should
keep our temper under the control of reason.
DIRECTION. — Construct the framework of a theme on each of the following topics; write out each theme in full.
8. Idleness. 2. Anger.
9. Humility. 3. Candor.
10. Contemplation. 4. Taste.
II. Passion for Dress. 5. Modesty.
12. Evils of War. 6. Freedom.
13. Blessings of Liberty. 7. Courage.
14. Decision of Character. 15. Advantages of Railroads.
Argumentative composition is that in which the aim is to modify or induce belief by means of argument. The body of a composition of this class consists of two parts, — the Proposition, or that which is to be proved, and the Arguments, or Proof.
Two Methods. — Two methods may be employed in Argumentative Composition, the Deductive and the Inductive. In the first, the line of thought proceeds from the subject to the predicate of the proposition to be proved; and in the second, from the predicate to the subject.
Parts. — When the proposition is stated at the outset, it should be stated in the clearest and briefest manner possible. After the Introduction follow the Arguments. They should be so arranged that the weakest come in the middle and the strongest last. The connection between the arguments and the conclusion must be made clear in each case. The Conclusion consists of a re-statement of the proposition as enforced by the combined strength of all the arguments.
Style. — Clearness and force are here the chief requisites; little or no ornament is required; the style should be neat, but sufficiently diffuse to make the points easily seen. Every argument should have illustrations, examples, quotations, or instances, to make its force and meaning perfectly clear.
Theme: To be Good is to be Happy.
I. INTRODUCTION : Explain clearly goodness and happiness. II. DISCUSSION : Goodness leads to happiness because 1. It gives a good conscience, one of the conditions of
2. It gives happiness under all conditions.
5. It meets with the approval of Heaven. III. CONCLUSION : We should make goodness our highest aim.
DIRECTION. — Construct the framework of a theme on each of the following topics; write out the theme in full.
1. Whatever is, is Right. 2. Honesty is the Best Policy. 3. Should Judges be elected ? 4. Our Antagonist is our Helper. 5. Knowledge is Power. 6. Labor is a Blessing. 7. Life is a School. 8. Wisdom leads to Happiness. 9. Contrivance proves Design. 10. Manhood Suffrage is Desirable. 11. It is Expedient to wear Mourning Apparel. 12. Compulsory Education is a Benefit to the State. 13. Is Execution by Electricity advisable ? 14. Self-praise is no Commendation. 15. Example is more Powerful than Precept. 16. We should resist the Beginnings of Evil. 17. Mathematics is a useful Study. 18. Education leads to Virtue. 19. Expectation excels Realization. 20. Party Government is injurious to the State. 21. Lady Teachers should receive the same Wages as Gentlemen. 22. One should not be above One's Business. 23. Extremes should be avoided.