Rhetorical Analysis Of John Adams Letter To Abigail Adams

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Before John Adams became president, he journeyed abroad to explore and discover the world with his son. While, he was away, Abigail Adams, John Quincey Adam’s mother, wrote her son, hoping to convince him to listen to her motherly guidance. This letter from Abigail Adams employs connections and asserts an appeal to ethos to persuade her son to listen to her advice.

Throughout the letter, Adams identifies with John Quincey to establish a connection with him and provide advice while he is away. One example of this is Adams’ frequent usage of the doting expression “my son”. This repeated phrase narrates the loving relationship between Abigail and John Quincey and is used to aid in giving advice. In addition, the metaphor comparing “a judicious traveler to a river” suggests John is that said river flowing further from its origin and collecting benefits from the opportunities he is presented with. A connection is exemplified here as Adams illustrates all that her son can accomplish with her advice. Additionally, Not only are the connections between mother and son strong in this letter, but so is the appeal to ethos.
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This strategy is identified in the rhetorical questions she asks about Cicero and his significant accomplishments. Adams argues that had Cicero not been challenged many times, he wouldn’t have been a hero, and she encourages John to do the same through this ethical implication in the form of advice. Accordingly, to persuade her son to continuously work hard, Adams describes “wisdom and penetration” as “the fruits of experience”. This moral assertion subtly reinforces her advice to maintain his work ethic rather than to be lazy. Consequence of these devices, the distinctive appeal to ethos is important in Adams’ strategies used to give her son
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