Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/109

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

THE AUTHOR'S PURPOSE

the special subject of the purpose novel, we must in fairness go a little further in order to make clear a distinction about which a good deal of confusion exists in the minds of many readers and writers. It may be defined as the distinction between the Novel-with-a-Purpose, on the one hand, and the Author-with-a-Purpose, on the other. There is no logical reason why an author should not have the strongest sort of prejudices, convictions, enthusiasms; only, he must not be trying to force them down the reader's throat. He may believe, like Harriet Beecher Stowe, that slavery is a crime; he may agree with Zola that race suicide is a national menace. A sincere belief of that sort is the surest guarantee of powerful workmanship, so long as the author records only what he sees, so long as he remembers that life itself is the most potent teacher of its own lessons. But so soon as he becomes mistrust-

[95]