Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/94

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tion that the writer's purpose shall be defined beyond all question, and at the very start. In other literary forms, unfortunately, the need of having a purpose is more easily overlooked, because that purpose is more or less disguised, instead of being embodied in a specified chapter and verse. Yet, the mere circumstance that the poet and the novelist, for instance, differ from the preacher in not having to announce in advance the theme of their discourse does not alter the fact that "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," is the text of the Ode on a Grecian Urn, and that Owen Wister's The Virginian is an eloquent attempt to reconcile the New England conscience to the rude ethics of Western justice.

Now, the average person who might be very quick to note the omission of a Sunday morning text will quite complacently read a novel or a short story that does not possess even a rudimentary central idea with-