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Let him be either European or American ; let him have a brain the result of six generations of culture; let him have the ripest training of university routine; let him add to it, the better education of practical life; crown his temples with the silver locks of seventy years, and show me the man of Saxon lineage for whom his most sanguine admirer will wreathe a laurel, rich as embittered foes have placed on the brow of this negro, -rare military skill, profound knowledge of human nature, content to blot out all party distinctions, and trust a state to the blood of its sons, – anticipating Sir Robert Peel fifty years, and taking his stand by the side of Roger Williams, before any Englishman or American had won that right; and yet this is the record which the history of rival states makes up for this inspired black of San Domingo.
BEGINNINGS OF GESTURE. POINTING
WE all know that the words we utter are often only part of what we really say. By different movements of the hands, by our attitudes, by the glance of the eye or the flush of the cheek, we add to or subtract from the meaning set down in the mere words. This is but natural; we all do it unconsciously.
Why, then, must we study gesture, you ask. Why not let gesture take care of itself 2 The question is a just one, and what we really try to do is to let action take care of itself. But every young person, for some unknown cause, — we call it embarrassment, — immediately upon appearing before a larger number of his fellows than usual, seems to lose all naturalness. If he does succeed in saying something, as far as action goes, he is struck dumb. His feet seem glued to the floor, and his hands are hopelessly tied to his body. To overcome this peculiar state is the problem that confronts the public speaker. He must observe how people act ordinarily, how he himself acts, and then transfer these movements to his public appearances. By constant practice his embarrassment will disappear, and graceful, forceful expression will succeed.
THE INDEx HAND (THE POINTING HAND)
One of the most common things we do in everyday life is to point to things. The position of the hand in this pointing is generally known to public speakers as the inder position, or the inder hand.
In the most common form of the index hand, the forefinger is extended, while the other fingers are curved in
different degrees toward the palm, the thumb resting upon the first joint of the middle finger. The palm is about vertical. See Figure 29. The forefingershould not be absolutely straight, but should rest in an easy curve. Sometimes, if it is desired to emphasize the directing power of the index, the hand may be turned over until the palm is horizontal and the thumb down. (See Fig. 30.) When a person becomes very animated, the thumb rises, the degree of animation determining the amount F.T. m. that the thumb is raised. index. But when we know how the index hand itself is formed, we have really only the least part of a pointing gesture. First : Getting ready. — The hand must be moved from the side of the body to the place where we wish to use the gesture. This should be done in a straight line, that is, the hand should not go in a roundabout way to get to its destination. Second : The gesture itself. — After the hand has been raised in preparation, there comes a sweep of the arm to the final destination of the gesture. Third. The finish. — When the hand has reached its destination, there should be a sort of stroke, or definite final impulse. This should occur on the accented syllable of the emphatic word. Fourth: After the gesture. — After the gesture is finished, the hand should return to the side. It is very easy in this part of the gesture to exercise too little or too much control over the hand. A good rule is to let it fall, - but keep a brake on it. Give it a retarded fall. CAUTION No. 1. – In the completed gesture, unless emphatic, avoid a straight arm. Let the arm be broken at the elbow, and also at the wrist. (See Fig. 32.) CAUTION No. 2. — In making the stroke, do not turn the hand over, so the palm is horizontal and the thumb up.
CAUTION No. 3. — Be sure to get the wrist loose. Some speakers use the hand and forearm as if it were one long, straight rod. Get free movement at the wrist. (See Fig. 33.)
CAUTION No. 4. — Don't poke or punch. Let the stroke be vertical, up and down, and not toward the audience or the thing pointed to.
Gestures made with the index hand are not confined to mere pointing, although all may be traced to this. They are also used in counting, enumerating, designating; in caution, reproach, and warning. Examples:
Yonder is the church spire.
Directing Index :
Go down that street and turn to your right.
Animated Inder : FIG. 33. The right and the - - - wrong way of using the To prison with him Not another word . ma. The o
Sir There is the door Never venture are as shows the correct
into my house again path of the finger, in making the stroke of the ges
ture, the center being at GESTURES OF THE JNDEX HAND IN the wrist. The large arc
DEBATE AND ORATORY AB shows the path of the finger when the wrist is
held rigid and the center
Now, Honorable Judges, here is a point of the movement is at the
that I wish you to consider. - - - - elbow. This latter method First, Honorable Judges, it is unsatisfac. of using the index is to be tory. Second, it is contrary to approved avoided. principles. Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England P Do you imagine that it is the Land Tax Act which raises your revenue 2 that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply which gives you your army 2 or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline 2 No 1 surely no It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber. —EDMUND BURKE. Why do we longer delay? Why do we still deliberate 2 Let us PUB. SPEAK. – 5