proverb gnome
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In the exercise known as proverb students were to amplify "a summary declarative statement, recommending or condemning something". This is similar to the "chreia," except the author of the saying is unnamed. Generic "sententiae," or commonly known moralistic sayings, are taken as subjects to be amplified in ways nearly identical to those of the chreia.

Directions for Composition
Amplify a brief account of what someone has said or done, using these steps:

  1. Praise the saying itself
  2. G ive a paraphrase of the theme
  3. Say why this was said
  4. Introduce a contrast
  5. Introduce a comparison
  6. Give an example of the meaning
  7. Support the saying/action with testimony of others
  8. Conclude with a brief epilog or conclusion
Example  If one were to begin with this proverb from the Bible:
"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." —Proverbs 21: 9
One could amplify it using the steps mentioned above as follows:
Solomon, that paragon of wisdom, did indeed show his acumen when he stated in Proverbs that it would be better to live in a tiny and insignificant dwelling than to have a mansion but share it with a cantankerous wife. A man of so many wives must have known this from experience, yet he gave this proverb as a caution both to wives and their husbands and for their mutual benefit. It is indeed better to have domestic harmony than to have that discord that comes when one spouse rails against the other. Living with a nagging, brawling wife is like living with the TV forever tuned to Rush Limbaugh on a cranky day. For example, I knew of one man of great potential for public office who won over ever constituency except that at his house. There, where his wife seemed to have an inordinate power of veto, none of his legislation ever passed. He became so discouraged that he gave up his political ambitions and now sweeps floors at Taco Bell. Experts in family science have cautioned us to maintain peace in the home. We cannot hope to follow these experts or the older and wisest Solomon if we do not take the advice of the latter and so avoid the unhappy scene described by the former.
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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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