Dear Boy Letter
At the surface, the letter Lord Chesterfield writes to his son appears to simply offer his son simple sound advice with the intention to help his son. It seems that he is trying to give his son this advice in a friendly manner as opposed to a father giving his son advice. However, upon closer analysis of what Chesterfield writes, one can see how he is actually subtly reminding his son of his obligations and duties. Using strategies such as understatements, diction, and rhetorical questions, Chesterfield subtly leaves reminders to his son that shows what Chesterfield holds as high values: obedience and reputation.
In the beginning of the first paragraph, it seems that Chesterfield is insulting himself while complimenting his son. In lines five to seven he acknowledges the common belief that parental advice is just simply the “moroseness, the imperiousness, or the garrulity of old age”. This creates a tone of harmlessness and satire in the paragraph, allowing Chesterfield to use understatements with effect later in the letter. In lines eight to twelve,, he goes on to seemingly compliment his son, writing that despite how young he (he being his son) is, Chesterfield knows his son can recognize good advice from bad advice. In lines twelve to seventeen, using a similar structure to lines eight to twelve, Chesterfield writes that he is flattered “that your own reason, young as it is, must tell you, that I can have no interest but yours in the advice that I give you; and consequently, you will at least weigh and consider it well”. Using parallel structure here, Chesterfield is really saying that his son should know his father gives the best advice, and that his son better use his advice.
Later in the first paragraph, still using understatements, Chesterfield goes on to indirectly threaten his son to follow his advice - and enhances his threats with the use of diction. In lines twenty-five to thirty,, Chesterfield writes “I do not, therefore, so...
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