People often say that money does not determine how happy you are but in William Hazlitt’s essay “On the Want of Money”, he tries to prove the world wrong. He firmly believes that if money cannot get you happiness then it will truly “pave the road for it”. Hazlitt weaves his argument though the use of syntax, diction and appeals to pathos, logos and ethos; by using these effective rhetorical strategies Hazlitt proves his point that money is a crucial part of happiness in today’s world.
Hazlitt’s most cogent rhetorical strategy used to prove his point is syntax. It is evident in several parts of the passage but especially in his lengthy sentence that stretches from lines 2 to 47. Hazlitt’s purpose in including this sentence is clear: to make the reader feel as if the sentence is an interminable nightmare. He collects a massive series of calamities that will convince pretty much everybody that money will lead to happiness. Hazlitt uses this syntactical strategy to make the reader anxious, discouraged and hopeless. It is more than evident that Hazlitt believes that someone without money will feel this way. In order to make the sentence more effective he uses anaphora and asyndeton. Through the sentence he starts many of his phrases with the word “or” and eliminates conjunctions as to create an elongating effect the sentence that is certain to deter the reader.
The use of diction also contributes to the rhetorical effect in the passage. Hazlitt uses words that are sure to affect the reader in a negative way. Once the reader contemplates emphasized words such as “contempt”, “disparaged”, “neglected”, “exile” and “disappointment”, he has no other way than to believe that the lack of money will cause him to feel this way. Hazlitt uses denotative diction and clear words to send the message that “Unless you have money you will be miserable”. Diction in this passage builds so that there is hopelessness in the air but Hazlitt is never aggressive or...
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