Rhetorical Strategies In Letter To His Son Chesterfield

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The ultimate goal of all parents is to see that their children succeed in life. While this may be true, most fathers have additional expectations of their children, as is evident in author Lord Chesterfield’s letter to his son traveling far from home. These expectations are expressed in the rhetorical strategies utilized by Chesterfield. In addition to demonstrating his desires for his son, the rhetorical strategies implemented in the letter reveal the values Chesterfield holds as true. In order to persuade his son that the knowledge he holds is pertinent, Chesterfield first disbands the notion that parents only give advice to exert control over a child, then ties the ability and pride of himself to the success of his son, and finally suggests…show more content…
Chesterfield begins this process of degradation by proposing that his son must be mortified for all the help he has received in order to succeed. Chesterfield writes, “your shame and regret must be greater than anybody’s because everybody knows the uncommon care which has been taken of your education, and the opportunities you have had…” (43-45). Chesterfield is clearly suggesting that his son should feel unaccomplished because his achievements were not accomplished on his own. Chesterfield further reduces the pride of his son by stating, “to know little of anything, gives neither satisfaction nor credit, but often brings disgrace and ridicule” (53-55). Chesterfield is implying that his son does not know enough and must expand his knowledge before he can prosper. In addition, Chesterfield does not want his son to simply do well, but have detailed understanding of all in order to avoid disgrace. Chesterfield also demands that not only should his son know more than most, “but… excel in the thing itself” (51). The final goal of these assertions is to utilize the rhetorical strategy of diminishing pride in order to drive his son to meet higher expectations. Such a strategy reveals that Chesterfield, himself, believes that a man or woman must prove himself or herself as great without assistance, and that greatness comes only through extensive comprehension. This rhetorical device, along with others, provides the force necessary to motivate Chesterfield’s son to meet his father’s
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