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In Abigail Adam’s letter to John Quincy she explains to him why he needs to be in Paris. She uses a number of lessons through her letter to show that he can succeed by going out into the world even if he is less than interested. She uses certain rhetorical methods like explaining that one needs to experience things to grow and learn more to succeed in life and showing her support in him throughout the letter.
Adams begins with telling her son that she thought he needed to go on this trip to learn, although he was reluctant to begin with. She uses an author’s quote that “compares a judicious traveler to a river that increases its stream the further it flows from its source.” She uses this to connect with John Quincy having to travel to Paris. If he goes out into the world, he can learn and experience more. This would only help him later in life. He would grow just as a stream grows as it moves farther from his original source. John Quincy can remember this as he is in Paris. He will be learning a new language and discovering how people act over in a different country. Instead of being upset that he was forced to come to Paris with his father he can think of this quote and it will inspire him to keep going with his studies.
Adams states that, “It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed.” They are in the middle of a war, which adds to what Abigail is saying to her son. He travels with his father, so he can be taught how to become a great leader. The Revolution they are dealing with will definitely teach John Quincy many things. His father is also with him and was a highly respected leader. John Quincy could have easily watched his father deal with very important things and learned quite a lot to become the well now known leader he is today.
Abigail is a very loving and nurturing g mother towards her children. There is no doubt that she had a positive impact on them. Throughout the letter, Abigail leaves these small things to her son that show how much she loves and cares for him. She starts her letter telling him, “If I had thought your reluctance from proper deliberation… I should not have urged you…” She is encouraging towards her young son. John would be 12 or 13 at this time. At this age, kids are unsure of themselves and this whole letter is Abigail reassuring her young son that he can grow up to be great. She tells him, “Nothing is wanting with you but attention, diligence and steady application.” This keeps John going as he visits in France. Just like every other young boy, he would get frustrated and this motivated him to keep going and pay attention. She is reassuring, but everything she writes to him has this motherly tone added to it. She adds at the end of her letter, “…your ever affectionate mother…” which brought home how much she loved him. This probably made John Quincy feel good about what he was doing.
Abigail wrote a very effective letter to her son giving him many examples and advice on how travel can help him grow into a better man for their country, accompanies with her loving tone that she has when she talks to her young child. By using these strategies, she convinced her son to stay in Paris, which helped John Quincy Adams grow and turn into the famous leader we learn about in history classes today.
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