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"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learned to dance." I. Problem
DESCRIBE SO that a stranger can see it the town in which you live.
In the Acadian land, on the shore of the basin of Minas,
Giving the village its name and pasture to flocks without number.
Dikes, that the hands of the farmers had raised with labor incessant,
Shut out the turbulent tides; but at stated seasons the floodgates
Opened, and welcomed the sea to wander at will o'er the meadows.
West and south there were fields of flax, and orchards and cornfields
Spreading afar and unfenced o'er the plain; and away to the northward
Blomidon rose and the forests old, and aloft on the mountains
Sea-fogs pitched their tents, and mists from the mighty Atlantic
Looked on the happy valley, bu ne'er from their station descended.
There, in the midst of the farms, reposed the Acadian village. Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and of chestnut
Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of the Henries.
Thatched were the roofs, with dormer windows; and gables projecting
Over the basement below protected and shaded the doorway. There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly the
Lighted the village street and gilded the vanes of the chim
Matrons and maidens sat in snow-white caps and in kirtles Scarlet and blue and green, with distaffs spinning the golden Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shuttles within doors
Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels and the songs of the maidens.
Solemnly down the street came the parish priest, and the children
Paused in their play to kiss the hand he extended to bless them.
Reverend walked he among them; and up rose matrons and maidens,
Hailing his slow approach with words of affectionate wel
Then came the laborers home from the field, and serenely the sun sank
Down to his rest and twilight prevailed. Anon from the belfry
Softly the Angelus sounded, and over the roofs of the village Columns of pale blue smoke, like clouds of incense ascending, Rose from a hundred hearths, the homes of peace and contentment.
III. Analysis of Model
Lines 1-3. The "Four W's."
Lines 3-12. The Country North, South, East, and West.
Lines 13-33. The Village Itself
(a) The Houses (lines 13-17).
(b) A Summer Evening
(c) Summer Evening Women
(d) Sights and Sounds (lines 30-
2. Keynote Peace. Make a list of the words that
Line 1. Acadian. Do not confuse with Arca
2. Grand Pré-Big Meadow.
10. Blomidon. Consult the atlas.
15. Normandy. Where is it?
19. Explain Vanes.
23. What is made from flax?
29. Define Anon.
30. What is the Angelus ?
4. Figures of Speech.
Thatched, Dormer, and
Line 4. Note that the participle "giving" has
Line 7. The verbs "welcome" and "wander"
imply that the sea is like a guest. Similarly, in Line 10, "pitched their tents" implies that the sea-fogs were like a hostile army. Such implied comparisons are called metaphors. Find another.
Line 20. Matrons and Maids. The jingle produced by the fact that both these words begin with the same sound is called alliteration. Are there any other examples of alliteration in the description?
Line 23. Whir of the Wheels. Such sound imitation is called onomatopoeia.
5. Descriptive Words and Phrases.
Find in the model a half-dozen words that appeal to eye and two or three that appeal to the ear.
IV. Topics for Three-Minute Speeches
2. The Story of Evangeline.
3. Parkman's Account of the Acadians.
V. Written Composition
Write a description of your own town. Use the fol
lowing plans and specifications:
1. Strike a keynote cultured, provincial, sleepy, smoky, busy, breezy, etc. Hit this key several times during your description and be sure that you hit no other. 2. Use this framework:
Paragraph 1. The "Four W's."
2. The Surrounding Country.
4. The Streets.
5. A Picture of Evening, Noon, Morning, or Midnight, which will include children, women, men, and some important central figure such as that occupied by the priest in Longfellow's description. The time of year and the hour of the day you choose will be somewhat determined by the keynote.
3. Do not try to write in verse. 4. Use a few figures of speech.
POLONIUS'S ADVICE TO LAERTES
Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement.
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;