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“Dear Boy” by Lord Chesterfield

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Eighteenth century author, Lord Chesterfield, in his letter “Dear Boy,” conveys caution to his son. Chesterfield”s purpose is to advise his son on life, not as a dictator, but, as a friend. He adopts a cautious attitude in order to provide his son with helpful counseling. In this letter “Dear Boy,” the author shifts from a friendly tone to a more strict tone to make known the importance of all he says through the use of resounding anaphora’s and constant logos to get his son to comprehend the significance of his fatherly advice.

In Chesterfield’s text “Dear Boy,” he uses an abundance of rhetorical devices, such as resounding anaphora’s to give his son useful fatherly counseling. In lines 3-5 he says so often “I know how,” “I know that,” and “I know too” to emphasize to his son that he can relate with him and that he wants his son to take what he is as help for the future ahead and to not completely discard it. The use of constant repetition made it easy for the author to empathize with his son in such a manner that made it easier to get his point across without coming off too fatherly. We see this again in lines 8-12 where he says “I flatter myself.” By using that simple phrase the author was able to appeal to his son and let him know that he only had his son’s best interest in mind as a father. Through the use of anaphoric phrases the author was able to portray the importance of his lifelong counseling to his son.

The author appeals to the readers emotions through the use of logos. In his text he says “I know how unwelcome advice generally is; I know that those who want it most , like it and follow it least; and…the garrulity of old age,” in order to persuade his son to really follow the advice he gives him as a caring father. He makes sure his reasoning is logical and to the point by saying “I know” constantly to reinforce that he understands what it’s like to be in his position but, that his son must understand where he is coming from as a concerned parent. This also ties in with the use of resounding anaphora’s because the author had to repeat certain phrases many times in order to make what he was saying sound logical to his son. In lines 53-55 the author states “To know a little of anything, gives neither satisfaction nor credit; but often brings disgrace or ridicule.” The author is trying to tell his son that if you don’t know a lot it makes sense that you’ll have a low status in life. People will in essence look at you with low standards. Through the use of logos the author was able make it easier for his understand the advice being given to him.

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