The Rhetorical Devices Used In Abigail Adams's Letter To Her Son

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Abigail Adams, the mother of John Quincy Adams, is entering a new chapter in her life in which her youngest son is becoming a man. John, his elder brother, and his father are traveling on a long, treacherous voyage to France. Abigail Adams writes John an encouraging letter that will help display her feelings towards him as a mother. Adams uses a number of different rhetorical devices such as a myriad of different historical and metaphorical examples, as well as a motherly diction in order to leave a desired confidence in her son. Throughout the letter, Adams compares her son to many different people and elements, from past and present, in order to illustrate who, she wants her son to be. First, she parallels “a judicious traveler to a river,” which is Adam’s way of advising her son to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity he has been given. The farther that Adams travels from home the more he will expand his horizons in order to collect “rich veins of minerals,” meaning knowledge, companionship, and wealth. Later in the letter, Adams also uses a historical event in order to compel her son to do good. She proposes, “Would Cicero have …show more content…

Throughout the letter Adams uses phrases like “my son” or “the son of your father.” Her purpose through this is to display to her son that he has nothing but support from both of his parents as he grows into the man he chooses to be. She explains that he is very fortunate to have “superior advantages,” meaning the wealth of their family, yet he should never stray from the morals that were taught to him from “a tender parent.” Adams concludes her letter with “…do honor to your country, and render your parents supremely happy, particularly your ever affectionate mother, A.A.” In this final sentence she includes everything that she expects from her son as he travels, learns, and becomes a

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