Abigail Adams My Dear Son Rhetorical Analysis

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In 1780, eight years before the creation of the Constitution, Abigail Adams writes to her son John Quincy Adams, using many different rhetorical devices to advise him throughout his voyage across seas. As a mother, Adams’s concerns and prospects for the future are expressed to her son, who is growing old enough to begin to apply his own intelligence to the world. Mothers have always shared a similarity that is rooted in their compassion and tendencies to protect their children, and Adams is no different.

Adams encourages her son through a series of rhetorical techniques. First, she displays her absolute love for him, using the phrase “my dear son” throughout the letter to continually show him that she is not scolding him; rather, she is trying to exhibit to him how much he means to her. Adams also wishes that he has “no occasion” while at sea, so he can repent about not wanting to embark on this trip. knowing the dangers that can happen. Adams is hoping that her son will be safe during the entire trip. Adams also compliments her son's advanced language skills, saying that, if used correctly, it can be used as “greater
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She compares “judicious traveller [John Quincy Adams] to a river.” As the river grows its stream will improve its qualities, therefore if Adams son [judicious traveller] grows as a person he will improve on his qualities and become a better man. Like the river that becomes wider “the further it flows from its source,” Adams is hoping her son matures and becomes a big contributor to society. She is hoping that the trip to France will increase her son's “wisdom and penetration” needed to grow into a man while with his father. Finally, she is implying that, if her son uses his gifts of higher intellect, being able to read, and travelling with his father and realizing the privileges he has been rewarded in life: going to the best school and being extremely wealthy, he will be
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