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Your Turn: Style Exercise #1


Your assignment: Read the following passage. Rewrite the passage, but imitate the style of another writer. When you are finished, go back and write the same passage two more times, but this time try to imitate another author. Pick one of the following authors to imitate (Homer; Charles Dickens; Ernest Hemingway; Benjamin Franklin, Ovid; Plato; Lewis Caroll; William Faulkner; Stephen King; Martin Luther King, Junior; Mark Twain; or any other writer with whom you are familiar. (You can click on the names for sample passages written by the author, if you wish.) Exaggerate their characteristics as much as possible to get a full sense of the style.

Once you have produced and polished two versions, you are done. Here is the passage:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--from which these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

--Abraham Lincoln, "The Gettysburg Address," 1863.

 

 
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