In John Downe’s letter to his wife, he strategically establishes and develops ethos and pathos to persuade her to join him in the United States with their children. Through his use of ethos, which includes the repetition of “I,” Downe builds his credibility throughout the letter. “I have a problem,” “I dined with him,” “I went into town yesterday,” all contribute toward establishing his credibility in the eyes of his wife.
Furthermore, Downe’s diction also plays a role in the development of ethos as he writes in a formal register which is befitting of a man in his position. The use of “my dear wife” rather than simply “wife” or “love” shows that he respects her and values her opinion. In addition, Downe’s inclusion of concrete details such as names, dates, and prices also help to establish his credibility as they provide evidence of his time spent in the United States and allude to his good fortune.
However, it is not only through the establishment of ethos that Downe convinces his wife to come to the United States, but also through the effective use of pathos. The opening sentence of the letter, “ United States, New York, Oct. 3rd, 1833” is effective in drawing the reader in as it creates a sense of mystery and curiosity.
What follows are descriptions of all that Downe has experienced in the United States which serve to paint a picture of an exciting and exotic land that his wife and children would be sure to enjoy. In addition, Downe’s use of metaphors also help to evoke an emotional response as he writes, “I think I see you standing on the shore…” This image is likely to tug at his wife’s heartstrings and make her long for her husband who is so far away.
Downe’s letter is an excellent example of how to use ethos and pathos effectively in order to convince someone of your point of view. His inclusion of concrete details and emotional language help to paint a picture of the United States as an appealing place to live, and his consistent use of “I” throughout the letter serves to establish his credibility as a reliable source of information.
In today’s world, we can see Downe’s tactics being used in advertising, political speeches, and even in personal relationships. The next time you find yourself trying to convincing someone of your point of view, remember John Downe and his effective use of rhetoric.
He provides his wife with examples of the many positive situations he, himself has endured while being in the country of America. Downe hopes that his persuading words will convince her to emigrate with their children to America. “I know you will like America” is Downe’s primary hope and purpose for writing this persuasive letter.
He believes that if he can provide his wife with enough evidence of the many benefits that America has to offer, she will want to live there as well. John Downe’s letter is an excellent example of a persuasive letter because it contains many reasons why someone should move to America. In his letter, Downe describes the United States as a land of opportunity, with good schools and hospitals, and a place where people are treated equally.
Because his wife is not interested in America, he believes that using credential words to compliment all of the things he has been able to accomplish in this nation will win her approval. Downe hopes that his wife’s attentiveness to these terms may be rewarded by his praise of them. His descriptions of the achievements he has made in America are basically intended to pique her interest in this country.
He talks about how “a man can live here very well upon a little,” and that “one half of the United States would maintain the other.” He eventually tells her that he has become so accustomed to the place that he would not want to return to England even if he were given a thousand pounds. John Downe’s efforts to bring his wife over to America are significant because they indicate one of the earliest attempts at family reunion migration.
Family reunion was not as common during this time period because people tended to migrate alone in search of work or land. The fact that Downe was willing to go through all this trouble just to be with his wife shows that, for some people, family was more important than anything else.
Downe’s wife eventually decides to come to America, and upon her arrival, she is amazed at how different everything is. “I never saw such a country in my life, it is all one continued wood,” she says. She is also surprised at how friendly everyone is, remarking that “the people are the most civil I ever met with in any country.” She soon begins to see all the opportunities that America has to offer, and starts making plans for the future.
John Downe’s experience shows that America was already beginning to be seen as a land of opportunity, even during the early days of settlement. People were attracted to the idea of being able to start anew, with no one to tell them what to do. This sense of freedom was something that was not found in other countries, and it is still one of the United States’ most appealing qualities.
The above examples are intended to provide assurance for his wife that he has discovered great possibilities in America but not back home in England. Downe thinks this will strike her as another incentive to like her new life in America, and their difficult existence in England is likened to the vast opportunities that exist here.
He writes of the social mobility and how their children will have a much higher chance at success than they ever could in England.
Downe also compares the United States to England in terms of religion, writing that America is a land “where all denominations of Christians enjoy equal liberty.” This was an important point for many English immigrants, who were fleeing persecution by the Church of England. Downe goes on to say that, in America, “there is no distinction made between rich and poor” and that everyone is treated equally.
Finally, Downe writes of the natural beauty of America, saying that it is “a country which nature has been so bountiful to.” He describes the rivers and forests as being full of fish and game, and the land as being incredibly fertile. This is in stark contrast to the England of his day, which was largely industrial and had been deforested for centuries.
Downe’s letter is full of hope and excitement for the future, and it is clear that he believes that America is the land of opportunity. He urges his wife to come to America as soon as possible, so that they can start their new life together.