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Unformatted text preview: ly and of body, is quite characteristic, with staring eyes and mouth slightly open, raised
eyebrows, hands hanging with fingers tensely spread apart, so that a thing held therein is apt to drop. Surprise
heightens the feeling of internal tension, and in all excitement it is an element, in that the novel brings CHAPTER IX. 79 excitement and surprise, whereas the accustomed gives little excitement or surprises. In all wit and humor
surprise is part of the technique and constitutes part of the pleasure. Surprise usually heightens the succeeding
feeling, whether of joy, sorrow, anger, fear, pleasure or pain, or in any form. But sometimes the effect of
surprise is so benumbing that an incapacity to feel, to realize, is the most marked result and it is only
afterward that the proper emotion or feeling becomes manifest.
The reaction to the unexpected is an important adjustment in character. There are situations beyond the power
of any of us quickly to adjust ourselves to and we expect the great catastrophe to surprise and overwhelm.
Nevertheless, we judge people by the way they react to the unexpected; the man who rallies quickly from the
confusion of surprise is, we say, "cool-headed," keeps his wits about him; and the man who does not so rally
or adjust "loses his head,"--"loses his wits." Part of this cool-headedness is not only the rallying from surprise
but also the throwing off of fear. A warning has for its purpose, "Don't be surprised!" and training must teach
resources against the unexpected. "If you expect everything you are armed against half the trouble of the
world." The cautious in character minimize the number of surprises they may get by preparing. The impulsive,
who rarely prepare, are always in danger from the unforeseen. Aside from preparation and knowledge, there is
in the condition of the organism a big factor in the reaction to the unexpected. Fatigue, neurasthenia, hysteria
and certain depressed conditions render a man...
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- Spring '11