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course of recorded events is not yet aroused. Once stirred, however, it must go on increasingly. Hence the necessity of culmination. The concluding sentences of the forceful narratives already cited on page 220 afford illustration of this terminal massing.

On the other hand, there are occasions when initial ordering of details serves the purpose of vigor. Initial massing is familiar in those narratives that by dramatic introduction seek to capture the attention of the reader at the very beginning by confronting him at once with a crisis in action or with a bit of dramatic setting. Examples of the device appear in Balzac's A Passion in the Desert or in Morrison's On the Stairs.

These stories illustrate two distinct results secured by initial massing. On the one hand, as in A Passion in the Desert, initial presentation of effective material may serve to overcome the mental inertia that amost always weighs upon the reader at the beginning of a story, - unless he be spurred on by intellectual curiosity, as in the case of the scientist. Every one is familiar with the burden of getting fairly under way that attends the opening of an extended narrative. The opening chapter of Bleak House, for example, or of Diana of the Crossways, is so long in hoisting the narrative anchor that many a reader disembarks without delay and seeks passage elsewhere. Not so, however, with the type of story typified in the Balzac narrative:

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“It makes me shudder,” she exclaimed as she came out of Monsieur Martin's menagerie. She had been watching that daring showman as he “worked” with his hyena — to use the words of the handbills.

The love of adventure, the sense of peril, is at once piqued, and sufficient impetus is secured without delay

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to carry the reader over the expository preface necessary for an understanding of what is to follow.

On the other hand, the writer may seek to establish the tone of the narrative, to arouse in the reader an initial frame of mind proper for appreciating the underlying spirit of the composition. This is true, for example, in Morrison's story:

The house had been “genteel.” When trade was prospering in the East End, and the ship-fitter or block-maker thought it no shame to live in the parish where his workshop lay, such a master had lived here. Now, it was a tall, solid, well-bricked, ugly house, grimy and paintless in the joinery, cracked and patched in the windows: where the front door stood open all day long; and the womankind sat on the steps, talking of sickness and death and the cost of things; and treacherous holes lurked in the carpet of road-soil on the stairs and in the passage. For when eight families live in a house, nobody buys a door-mat, and the street was one of those streets that are always muddy. It smelt, too, of many things, none of them pleasant (one was fried fish); but for all that it was not a slum.1 This bit of distinctive setting, of dramatic description, is essential for appreciation of what follows, and the opening has an effectiveness that is clearly evident and catches the attention at the very threshold. A wonderful instance of the same thing is familiar to all readers of Hardy's The Return of the Native, where the sense of utter desolation characteristic of the heath marks the opening of the narrative,-a scene pictured with such masterly power that it has become famous.

A further device of position in the interests of increased emphasis is illustrated in the balanced type of structure, of which Macaulay is so fond. The following from the essay on John Hampden furnishes an example.

1 From Tales of Mean Streets. Copyright, 1895, by Roberts Brothers. Those who had pulled down the crucifix could not long continue to persecute for the surplice. It required no great sagacity to perceive the inconsistency and dishonesty of men who, dissenting from almost all Christendom, would suffer none to dissent from themselves, who demanded freedom of conscience, yet refused to grant it, who execrated persecution, yet persecuted, who urged reason against the authority of one opponent, and authority against the reasons of another. Bonner acted at least in accordance with his own principles. Cranmer could vindicate himself from the charge of being a heretic only by arguments which made him out to be a murderer.


The effectiveness of this military precision in massing clauses is unquestionable - if it be not carried to the extreme. But the balanced structure serves merely the purpose of occasional literary dress-parade; it is not a natural and spontaneous method of expression. The reader speedily becomes conscious of the deliberate effort at effective grouping and loses interest in the thought itself. Betrayal of insincerity on the writer's part is always fatal to sustained vigor.

The principle of the balanced structure is illustrated in extended narrative writing in two distinct ways: (a) by the iteration of a specified passage or scene; and (b) by the succession of effectively massed episodes. Dickens's A Child's Dream of a Star offers an instance of the first. The successive stages of the action are grouped about the refrain six times repeated, “And the star was shining,” so that the whole composition presents something of the elaborately ordered scheme represented in balanced sentences. The same type of parallel structure may be found in even more extended compositions. Bulwer Lytton's long novel The Last of the Barons is an example. The appearance at intervals of the timbrel girls with their recurring refrain,

“But death to the dove

Is the falcon's love!

Oh, sharp is the kiss of the falcon's beak!" offers a balancing of details for added effect. Sometimes an author will revert to a particular scene, introducing the characters in the same setting again and again, seeking by the process of association to gain emotional power. Ellen Glasgow in The Romance of a Plain Man has utilized as a setting for successive episodes the old garden in which Sally and Ben Starr first met in early days, each recurring scene deriving much of its value from the memories associated with the same background. But even when used on so large a canvas as a complete novel, this device of iteration is still subject to the peril that threatens the simple balanced sentence: if the realization of artificiality prevails over the forcefulness arising from orderly arrangement, all emotional value is lost.

The second variation of the balanced structure, the succession of similarly massed episodes, is illustrated in Richard Yea-and-Nay. In this case the balance appears in that even the various episodes, as well as the work as a whole, are, in general, constructed successively on the dramatic plan. Many of them are ordered with rise, climax, and fall of their own. The general plot ordering follows the subjoined diagram:

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The exposition, it will be seen, consists of five episodes, each one of which is in some degree dramatic in its own structure. The rise, in turn, is made up of six similarly constructed episodes; and so on. It is not to be inferred that the story is so perfectly and mechanically organized as the formal diagram might seem to indicate; at the same time, the approximation is sufficiently remarkable. In general, the narrative shows distinct similarity in the coördinated elements, or episodes, – and

this is the fundamental principle of the balanced struct


Another phase of this systematic and balanced ordering of plot elements may be found in those narratives whose episodes successively terminate in moments of suspense, thus causing the story to progress by a series of climax-culminations, or dramatic situations, as in a play, thus:

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The main line of the plot action, indicated by the dotted line ab, steadily rises, each episode taking up the thread from a point of increased emotional tension, at which it was left by the culmination of the episode preceding. In narratives of this order, the principle of balance is evident by the climax of suspense that marks the closing words of each episode. Hardy's gruesome short-story

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