The following precis appeared in the CSS Precis 2007 exam:
The author of a work of imagination is trying to effect us wholly, as human beings, whether he knows it or not; and we are affected by it, as human beings, whether we intend to be or not. I suppose that everything we eat has some effect upon us than merely the pleasure of taste and mastication; it affects us during the process of assimilation and digestion; and I believe that exactly the same is true of any thing we read.
The fact that what we read does not concern merely something called our literary taste, but that it affects directly, though only amongst many other influences , the whole of what we are, is best elicited , I think, by a conscientious examination of the history of our individual literary education.
Consider the adolescent reading of any person with some literary sensibility. Everyone, I believe, who is at all sensible to the seductions of poetry, can remember some moment in youth when he or she was completely carried away by the work of one poet. Very likely he was carried away by several poets, one after the other. The reason for this passing infatuation is not merely that our sensibility to poetry is keener in adolescence than in maturity. What happens is a kind of inundation, or invasion of the undeveloped personality, the empty (swept and garnished) room, by the stronger personality of the poet. The same thing may happen at a later age to persons who have not done much reading. One author takes complete possession of us for a time; then another, and finally they begin to affect each other in our mind. We weigh one against another; we see that each has qualities absent from others, and qualities incompatible with the qualities of others: we begin to be, in fact, critical: and it is our growing critical power which protects us from excessive possession by anyone literary personality. The good critic- and we should all try to critics, and not leave criticism to the fellows who write reviews in the papers- is the man who, to a keen and abiding sensibility, joins wide and increasingly discriminating. Wide reading is not valuable as a kind of hoarding, and the accumulation of knowledge or what sometimes is meant by the term ‘a well-stocked mind.’ It is valuable because in the process of being affected by one powerful personality after another, we cease to be dominated by anyone, or by any small number. The very different views of life, cohabiting in our minds, affect each other, and our own personality asserts itself and gives each a place in some arrangement peculiar to our self.
SOLUTION of CSS Precis 2007
Title: EXTENSIVE READING DEVELOPS CRITICAL JUDGMENT
Any literary piece of writing has a bearing upon readers’ mind as well as shapes their attitudes. The degree of influence relates to the strength of the author’s personality reflecting through the written material and the weakness of the reader’s attributes. A young reader or an old reader without sufficient reading background is more likely to be inspired by the charm of one or more than one writer. Gradually, as one’s span of reading increases then he or she starts evaluating one author from another and this ability of assessment develops critical thinking, which protects one from the supremacy of any particular form of writer. The value of excessive reading is not the accrual of knowledge but it is the critical judgment that sprouts from it. Hence, at a single time, a multitude of opinions of different authors resides in intellect but the reader assorts them according to his or her taste. (149-word Precis)
IT IS HARD FOR AN EMPTY BAG TO STAND UPRIGHT
The development of a character, which is full of ability and competence, takes years of toils. The fuel of such a personality is sleepless nights of untiring hard work until the glimmer of dawn. Blood of such ones, no doubt, is full of patience, forbearance, and hope. In fact, they never stop doing unflinching efforts and travail that become their cravings. Consequently, such people never afraid of competitions and failures; they always get ready for any struggle or contest. This is because of strong foundation of their individuality. However, contrary to this, a weak character, which is devoid of any significant inclination for exertion and fond of laxity, luxury, easiness, would easily cripple like a mound of dust. Such individuals would always be apprehensive of any competition as well as struggle and this is all owing to their careless nature without any glimpse of achievement and success. Moreover, if they take any kind of challenge like a test or an exam then they fail to perform any significant outcome, for their background lacks solid foundation of diligence. Their personality is like an empty bag, which has nothing to give out; and at the least, they are unable to stand upright for themselves. Hence, it is necessary for a successful life that one should always be laborious in developing his or her skills, qualifications, and education. This is the key for confidence; otherwise, the result would be like a disaster at any time in life and all that is due to one’s negligence of striving for a bright future.
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