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A response to “Of Studies” – an Essay by Sir Francis Bacon

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The topic of the essay ‘Of Studies’ by Sir Francis Bacon is clearly visible in the title itself. The main theme of the essay is to explain the use of studies as they serve for delight – in privateness and retiring, – in discourse, and for ability – in the judgment and disposition of business.

The author, by means of this essay, stresses the importance of studies in life. He supports the notion that study is an immensely important aspect of life, as he goes on to explain what type of study, books, reading and writing he considers essential and what type he regards dispensable. Sir Francis believes that expert men can execute and judge in a very orderly fashion, bearing in mind the details; but, general direction, planning and management of affairs come best from the learned. Also, he says that reading is important, but only to weigh and contemplate issues. Moreover, he states that while reading makes a full man and conference a ready man, but writing makes an exact man. According to Sir Francis, the ability to write is ever so important, and just as important is the ability to keep one’s wits intact.

This being a rather philosophical essay portraying the author’s personal standpoint in the issue, he does not make use of any evidence. Instead, he has proficiently employed various rhetorical devices. He uses parallelism to suggest correspondence between three scenarios of the one’s intemperance in studies when he says, “To spend too much … humor of a scholar.” (Bacon). He again uses parallelism by drawing correspondence in what studies are to different types of people when he says, “Crafty men contemn studies … wise men use them” (Bacon). He makes use of climax in two instances. One is when explains his view on how and what books should be read, and says, “Some books … chewed and digested” (Bacon). The other is when he is emphasizing the importance of writing, saying, “Reading maketh … an exact man.” (Bacon). Furthermore, there are two occurrences of the use of similes as well. Firstly, Bacon compares natural abilities to natural plants, which require clipping. Secondly, he says that distilled books are like distilled water, nothing but flashy things. Thus, the author has made dextrous use of persuasive techniques and figurative language to support the points that he makes in this essay.

I completely agree on every single point that the author has made in this essay. The only reason for this is that I would myself prefer to make the same choices Bacon has made in this essay. I agree upon the usefulness of studies, the importance of reading, the indispensability of the skill of writing, and the criticality of holding your wits that Sir Francis discusses in the essay. The author does not provide any factual evidence, but makes strong rhetoric and logical deductions, which makes his essay very strong. The essay did not sway me to the author’s side as I was already shared his views, but it did make my belief more profound and I certainly learned some new things.

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