Analysis Of Lord Chesterfield's Letter To His Son

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In Lord Chesterfield's letter to his son, Chesterfield threatens his son to uphold the values of obedience, success and education, and maintaining a good reputation to the family. He does this through irony and contradiction, which gives way to plain intimidation.

Chesterfield's first paragraph is rampant with contradictions and irony that set up the intimidation for his song to obey him. He begins by saying "the advice of parents ... is ascribed to the moroseness, the imperiousness, or the garrulity of old age" and "do not think that I mean to dictate as a parent; I meant to only advice as a friend." Both of these together go to contradict the advice that Chesterfield will employ to his son. The diction of "moroseness", "imperiousness",
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Chesterfield uses the build up from his contradicting advice and threats to make sure that his son understands the values of obedience, success and education, and holds up the family's reputation. Chesterfield calls to attention the fact that his son has had "the uncommon care" in his education and "the opportunities you have had knowing more than others of your age." This reveals that Chesterfield values taking advantage of opportunities given to you and not letting them go to waste. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with only learning things with half the effort required: "to know a little of anything gives neither satisfaction nor credit; but ... brings disgrace or ridicule." This not only communicates that Chesterfield cares what people think about him, his son and his upbringing, but also shows he believes that it would be embarrassing if his son failed at something when he has had a superior education and more opportunities. All of these things reveal the values that Chesterfield believes in and should be enforced in his son.

In conclusion, in Lord Chesterfield's letter to his son, he employs the techniques of irony and contradiction, which gives way to plain intimidation, in order to enforce the values of obedience, success and education, and upholding a good family
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