Lord Chesterfield Essay

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LDanielle Eales
P:3 10/27/12
Mrs. Oberdank AP Lang

In the verbally ironic letter written by Lord Chesterfield to his son (1746), Chesterfield reveals his own values through guilt, tone shifts, and harsh diction. His values include application in education, obedience, and becoming superior amongst others. Throughout the entire letter, Chesterfield uses guilt through a variety of ways, in order to push his son to become successful and independent. He begins this, by “confessing” to his son that he has his doubts on whether his advice serves purpose at all. He tries relating to his child by stating,” I know how unwelcome advice generally is; I know that those who want it most, like it and follow it the least.” He also begins referring himself as a “indulgent friend” rather than a strict fatherly figure, which is very ironic considering the fact that he practically dictates as a parent and commands his son to “at least weigh and consider” his advice well. Guilt appears once again when Chesterfield tells his son that if it wasn’t for him, he wouldn’t have a, “shilling in the world”, and continues on when discussing how much he values education. He recommends his son to apply himself and pay attention in all that he learns. He then states,” …everybody knows that uncommon care which has been taken of your education and opportunities you have had a lot more than others of your age,” which then causes tremendous feelings of guilt in his son, because it makes him feel as if he does not apply himself enough. Tone shifts are proven abundant in Chesterfield’s letter. For example, in line 1, “Dear Boy”, exemplifies a cold greeting from a father to his son, in which no affection was represented. The coldness continues on into the first paragraph when speaking about the advice his son should be taking from him and then flatters himself by basically insulting his son that he is “too young” to reason. Then shifting into a fatherly tone, he explains to his son that...
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