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DEFINITION AND DIVISION OF THE SUBJECTS, AND
SPECIES OF LITERARY COMPOSITION: THEIR
1. Thus far, we have treated of the Elements of Composition, to wit: of Sentences and Periods, of their formation, amplification and punctuation.
NOTE.-In this and the following book designed for high
schools, the short answers at the end of each page have been purposely omitted, and questions only placed, with numbers referring to the paragraphs of the text, where the pupil will find the requisite an
This system of allowing the student who has reached the high school, to exercise, in part at least, his judgment in answering a question, is eminently useful, as well as necessary.
For, as in the natural growth of the body, when a person has attained a certain age and strength, he is no longer led by the hand ; so, in the educational course, when a student has acquired a certain maturity and strength of thought, he should no longer be guided by a rigid catechetical method of fixed questions and answers.
QUESTIONS. (1.) Of what have we treated so far?
2. As a combination of sentences makes a period, so a combination of periods constitutes what is termed a literary composition ; which is the fourth and last formation that completes the noble production of the human mind.
3. The subject of a composition “is the theme on which a person writes or speaks,” which is also called a topic.
4. The subjects of composition are of two classes, generic and specific.
5. A generic subject is that which comprises under it, one or more classes of subjects of the same kind; such are narrations, which comprise under that name Historical, Oratorical and Poetical narrations.
6. A specific subject, is that which is comprised under a generic one.
7. All particular or individual subjects of composition, are also specific. Such is the nar
(2.) What does constitute a literary composition ?
What is the number of the last formation ? (3.) What is the subject of a composition ? (4.) Into how many classes may the subjects of composition
be chiefly divided ? (5.) What is a generic subject ?
Give an example. (6.) What is a specific subject ?
ration of a certain event; for instance, “ The Battle of Gettysburg."
8. Here we shall treat only of the generic subjects of composition ; First, because the specific subjects are almost innumerable; there being scarcely anything in the material and immaterial world, which may not furnish a theme for composition. Second, because the rules which we shall lay down for the generic subjects, will apply to the specific also.
9. Since the generic subjects are distinguished from each other by their nature, as well as by the object of the writer or speaker, each of them constitutes a different species of composition, having a special appellation, as the following division will clearly show.
10. The generic subjects of composition can be divided into classes, according to the object of the writer or speaker, which may be fourfold, namely: First, to inform ; second, to please ; third, to persuade ; fourth, both to inform, please and persuade.
(7.) What subjects are specific also ?
Give an example. (9.) What does each generic subject of composition consti
tute ? (10.) Can the generic subjects of composition be divided
into classes ?-and how?