Lord Chesterfield Letter To His Son Analysis

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Lord Chesterfield’s letter to his son goes far beyond what is typically expected of a parent addressing a child. The good natured advice is therefore trampled by the presumption that Chesterfield’s son simply will not live up to his potential despite the advantages he has been given through education and status. Chesterfield imposes his own morals and values by toying with the guilt of privilege, contradicting himself and making a mockery of failure, consequently, presenting his advice as the only acceptable recourse. The first paragraph is underlined by the use of irony, however the high level of writing and expertise prevents this from overwhelming the reader. Originally Chesterfield downgrades his own advice by addressing the common…show more content…
This is achieved through mocking the possibility of his son falling short of expectations given his advantages. Lines 41-42 explicitly state this by asking “can there be anything more mortifying than to be excelled by them?” (“them” being Chesterfield’s son’s peers), this quote is extremely condescending to say the least. However the statement is also presents some of Chesterfields own values. It is not enough to merely do well in something, success is defined by exceeding all of one’s own fellow peers. In addition Chesterfield follows up his point in lines 43-45 directly addressing his son by saying “your shame and regret must be greater than anybody because everybody knows the uncommon care which has been taken to your education,” the careful use of language illustrates his point. Intentionally starting this sentence with “your” Chesterfield ensures that his point is to be taken personally. He follows up with “anybody” and “everybody” using these two all inclusive extremes to emphasize that failure is an unacceptable option. Being handed the luxury of high social status and exemplary education sets up the equality elevated expectations and consequently the disastrous alternative of not fulfilling the
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