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Mark Twain's Advice To Youth

Essay by 24  •  July 2, 2011  •  963 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,636 Views

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Rhetoric is the study of effective thinking, writing, and speaking strategies and is an essential part of writing. To be valuable, a text must be developed and written with a clear perspective and purpose in mind. For most writers they first have to find the function their writing will serve in its particular context. Writers then need to express this purpose and choose specific rhetorical strategies which will achieve it. Writers use many different strategies such as symbolism, style, tone and voice. In Mark Twains “Advice to Youth” his style and tone really allow for him to capture his audience. Twains humor allows for the young audience to relate to what he is saying. This humor also helps them to connect with the speaker by allowing them to feel more comfortable. Twain also uses repetition in a unique way that allows for his speech to have a specific structure, that further enhances his writing.

When looking at Mark Twains Advice to Youth one very obvious strategy that he uses is humor. By doing so, Twain really captures the young audience that he was expected to speak to. Twain starts off his speech by saying “ Being told that I would be expected to talk here, I inquired what sort of talk I ought to make, they said it should be something suitable to youthвЂ"something didactic, instructive or something in the good nature of advice”-395. Even as Twain begins his speech, he starts on a lighter note which allows the listeners to connect to what he is reading. In a way, the advice that Twain gives is sort of mocking the traditional rules that you are told when you are young. The first piece of advice that he gives is to obey your parents, however he than adds in the line, “when they are present.” By saying this Twain is poking fun at the youth. I think what Twain was trying to say is that people who claim that they obey there parents, really don’t. Maybe when there parents are around they are polite and courteous. However, Twain is saying how you act when they are not around it is just as important and by these standards, only few people can say that they truly obey there parents. In this section his humor his quite apparent and it continues through his entire speech.

Another big idea in his speech was the act of lying.“ Now as to the matter of lying, You want to be very careful about lying; you are nearly sure to get caught. Once you get caught, you can never again be in the eyes of good and the pure, what you were before”. Again we see Twain poking fun at this idea that we are all taught from such a young age. From childhood we are told not lie, but in fact, everybody lies and it is only until we get caught that we feel we did something wrong. Twain tries to show us this by using irony. He talks about being seen in the eyes of the “good and pure”, but I think the message he is trying to convey is, there is nobody “good and pure.” People who are considered to be “good and pure” are simpiply people who have not gotten caught in there lie yet. As long as everything is covered up, and the truth never gets out we justify the lie that we have told. In this paragraph Twain also tells a story about a

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