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How to Grasp the Meaning of Printed Page: Presenting a Memorized Selection before the Audience (8)

So you want to present a memorized selection before the audience?

Great, if yes!

You should, anyway, I must add because situations will demand for it.

Unavoidably, we're often called upon to re-narrate stuff like details of a newspaper article or a story we've read.

Here, certainly, the synopsis is what is demanded.

But like the rest of the tutorials, you need to know the road map which of course is the crux of this post, the final leg.

I assumed, importantly, before we continue, you're sufficiently familiarized with all the tips and tricks I've so far shared in my previous tutorials on the top,

If not, there's the urgent need for you to search my blog for the tutorial titled: "How to grasp the meaning of printed page” numbering seven in total.

Now whether you have an audience of one, five or five hundred the requirements are pretty the same but for the range of voice which can either be lowered or amplified to fill the room or auditorium granted that public address systems are to be deployed in any case.

The teacher who interfaced with a handful of students has his task cut out and relatively easy.

But as a speaker from the podium it is important you understand the workings of all mechanics of speech especially the mouth, lung, pharynx, and larynx so you're in absolute control of your speech rate and pitch amongst others.

Besides this, all you need to present a memorized printed page are good interpretative skills as well as handy snippets of what to present.

Now let's get down to business.

The first the task of the presenter or interpreter whom I ordinarily liken to the classroom teacher is memorizing the selection.

And when I say 'memorize', most definitely I do have a kind of definition in mind.

As a go-between for the author, the interpreter must work towards becoming the worthy unofficial ambassador giving him the best representation possible.

That's he or she must hear, sees, feels like the author; and be ready to relay it exactly as it’s to audiences in private or public only then can the assignment be said to be achieved.

As you becomes the eyes, ears, and mouth of the author; your functions are basically two which is to intentionally share the 'insight and pleasure' as conveyed by the writer.

Now memorizing a printed page as always can be a tricky affair.

The reason is these:

One, it is either you memorize words and words alone.

Or two, you memorize ideas and ideas alone as encapsulated in the selection say a poem for example.

While the reading of the selection is mandatory, it does not substitute for what the goal of the exercise is which is communication the essentials.

But what should the presenter memorize?

Unlike the superficial interpreter, the thorough interpreter always aligned with the second option at all time.

He must memorize the ideas and ideas alone.

Every other thing is secondary, perhaps unnecessary.

Hope that did not hurt to hear pare-venture you belong to the other school.

The thing is it is the best way to go.

Even as a student you might pass your exams cramming entire page but you've failed because you did not utilize your power of ‘re-creative thinking’.

And what is it?

It is the acquired ability to re-present ideas in a book or course material in a way that shows learning significantly has taken place.

Doing the first is not only arduous and put a strain on the intellect; it is equally counterproductive.

It kills natural inventiveness in students as well as in any who indulge in it.

Something everybody should make conscious efforts to avoid.

So to memorize ideas in a selection requires that the author is understood in all context.

Mind you communication takes place in a context which can be political, economic, social, psychological, Romantic etcetera.

Even when you're reading the selection efforts must be made to relay all the emotions of the author in the best possible way because printed page like poetry relies on to a large extent on emotional spontaneity for creation.

And its interpretations cannot be complete without emotional role-playing on the part of the reader or presenter.

Ideas or themes of a printed page may be just one or many, it is the responsibility of the presenter to identifies them all in their form and brings them alive with all the emotional gutsy it requires.      

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How to grasp the Meaning of Printed Page: Build a Background by a Study of the Author (7)

In almost all cases, every work of your favorite author represents part of his autobiography.

The works of a poet, for instance, reveal his personality and milestones in his professional trajectory.

Therefore, one of the dependable ways of grasping the meaning of a printed page is by building background through a comprehensive study of the author.

Unlike the rare priestly Melchizedek, the regular author like every one of us has antecedent, history, genealogy, inheritance, childhood, likes and dislikes, regrets, disappointments, hopes, aspiration, foible, strength, belief, politics, convictions and so on and so forth which consciously unconsciously creep into his works.

These are the driving forces in his life which he cannot help but brings to the fore as situation demands.

So a proper study of these is the way to go for mere reader or interpreter of a printed page or else he will be missing helpful clues that might aid him in understanding the author's attitudes towards his subjects or themes.

For example, John Masefield among British poets had a troubled youth ....... and was for several years sailing around the world.

By knowing this, it becomes instantly clear to you why he writes the way he writes.

He richly brings his experiences on the high sea to bear on his poetry.

Same goes for American Novelist, Ernest Hemingway, who was a volunteer soldier during world war two and was fatally injured and was awarded medal for heroism.

As a hobby, he loves to sail too.

All these and many more significantly influenced his writings as he went on to win the Nobel laureate for literature.

And when you discover that Carl Sandburg labored his way through the university at all types of menial jobs, that he had Scandinavian roots, that he worked at different times as newspaperman, musician, corn-husker and hobos and that he loves them all at once without prejudice, then you have a deeper grasp of his poems.

Nigerian Novelist, Chinua Achebe was a Biafran true-to-heart who never fails to turn up big time whenever topics concerning the failed republic take the center stage.

And he was a social and political activist in silent kind of way too.

If you’ve ever read his classic: "Things Fall Apart", then you'll know he knows his activism onions.

Finally to the Asiwaju of African literary movement, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, is in a way an iconoclastic, an unrepentant socio-political and cultural activist.

Though raised in a Christian home, all his works later, however, were a direct antithesis of what that represents.

They bore instead extensive signatures of his radical traits; his uncompromising resolves.

He identifies to the max with the course of African cultural heritage.

He is a proud Ogun errand soul.

In case you're still in doubt, you might need to check his poem: "Campus, Ile Ife", from Mandela’s Earth and other poems which opens with the tributary lines:

"When Ogun slammed his anvil forge
Down the flinty earth of Idanre,
Its shock waves burrowed through millennia,
Surfaced in charged outcrops, sinuous
Offsprings, seven-ridge rock hills of Ile-Ife."

So to where should, the reader turns in building a background of the author?

In the present time, the task is fairly an easy one.

There's an abundance of reliable resources both offline and online.

To begin with, the reader might simply turn to the online resource like Wikipedia among others.

If the reader is from a country where records are well kept especially in written forms, then offline resource like the books “Who is who” or "Who is who in America'  or similar others from around the world are a sure bet.

And they come handy.

Another resourceful place to look towards for assistance in this regard is the "Library of the Senate of the United State of America."

Here like several others, the readers will find dependable solutions to his needs of building a background by a study of notable authors from around the world as you continue in the path of understanding their works.
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How to grasp the Meaning of Printed Page: Using the Imagination to Fill In the Gaps (6)

Representational photo.

In grasping the meaning of a printed page, another approach that works is the effective use of the reader's imagination.

But what is imagination?

Stripped of all technicalities, imagination is the ability to clearly visualize causes and effects relations surrounding an event or incident through the use of the reader's inner eyes.

It derives its importance from the fact that there're always gaps in imaginative works.

Or put differently, there're always gaps in nature for which answers must be provided for a fuller understanding.

What then is Gap(s) especially as its concerns creative writings?

Gap, first and foremost is a link that's conspicuously absent in the construction of mental realities whether in the description, narration, exposition, and argumentation which are the four pillars in the idea generation and development.

Gaps exist, therefore, in imaginative works as a result of one or a combination of what the author said with 
fewer or insufficient words and what he left unsaid.

What he or she said with fewer words that set in motion our imagination.

Or what he or she left unsaid that must be covered by the lively use of the reader's imagination.

In any case, all creative people use imagination- it is in fact. the essence of their work to do so.

Or else they will not be effective.

Novelists, Poets, Dramatists, Engineers, Doctors one way or the other deploy their imaginative abilities to solve new or lingering problems.

For instance, medical personnel reason either from cause to effect; or from effect to cause in proffering solutions to many health challenges.

Put more succinctly, they reason from known causes of ailments to the hope for effects which is the cure.

And imagination plays an important role in this without necessarily downplaying experience, expertise and what not.

But the imaginative writer, on the other hand, is nobly taking the readers through a journey of 'understanding the unseen' through the use of words in ways many may not be familiar with.

And they've got the license to do so

This more than not leads to gaps in their write-ups which the readers must fill up with the use of their imagination.

So, imagination is not like some may take it to mean an idle act of daydreaming that brings no positive impact with it.

It is the ability to create and recreate realities and amplify them; and to create new pictures of things in the minds of the readers as well as the hearers.

How does it work?

I think it’s pretty simple and I'm not indulging in oversimplification which is a known barrier in straight thinking.

It involves the reader as a recreative speaker or a go-between being able to connect with the author by feeling what he has felt, seeing what he has seen and hear sounds which he has heard.

In no other imaginative work, to my mind, is the reader's imagination gets more excited or calls to duty than in this great poem by the Greek poet and Nobel Prize winner, George Seferis, titled 
'Mythistorema', Part IV, from 'Argonauts', as translated by Rex Warner.

This is particularly vivid right from the two magical opening sentences of the poem in which to a narrow extent the poet addresses the Greeks and to a generalized sense all of humanity.

You're bound to encounter several instances in the poem in which the poet trigger our imagination to see things not just literally.

The full text below:

They were good lads, the comrades. They did not grumble
Because of weariness or because of thirst or because of frost,
They had the manner of trees and manner of waves
That accept the wind and the rain,
Accept the night and the sun,
And in the midst of change, they do not change,
They were good lads, Day after day with downcast eyes
They used to sweat at the oar,
Breathing rhythmically,
And their blood flushed up to an obedient skin.
There was a time when they sang, with downcast eyes,
When we passed the desert island with Arabian figs,
Towards the setting of the sun, beyond the cape
Of dogs that howl.
If it is to know itself, they used to say,
It is into a soul it must look, they used to say.
And the oars beat on the gold of the sea
In the middle of sunset.
Many the capes we passed, many the islands, the sea
Which brings the other sea, sea-gulls, and seals.
There were times when unfortunate women with lamentations
Cried for their children gone,
And others with wild faces look for Great-Alexander
And glories sunken in the depth of Asia.
We anchored by shores steeped in nocturnal perfumes
Among the singing of birds, waters that left on the hands
The recollection of a great good fortune.
But there was never an end to the journeys.
Their souls became one with the oars and the rowlocks,
With the sever figurehead at the prow,
With the water that fractured the image of their faces.
One after another the comrades died
With downcast eyes. Their oars
Indicates the places where they sleep on the shore.

There is none to remember them, and the word is Justice.
                                                                'Mythistorema', Part IV, from 'Argonauts'
                                                                                                by George Seferis

                                                                                translated by Rex Warner.
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