Last Updated 03 Nov 2016

John Downe

Category Ethos
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John Downe In John Downe’s letter to his wife, he strategically establishes and develops ethos as well as pathos to convince her to join him in the United States with their children. Throughout the letter, Downe develops his credibility through his use of ethos which includes the repetition of “I. ” “I have got a situation,” “I dined with him,” “I went into the market yesterday,” all progress towards the establishment of his plausibility in his wife’s eyes. 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. By describing all the things that he has been able to do in this country, “I can go into a store, and have as much brandy as I like to drink for three half-pence and all other spirits are in proportion,” Downe hopes that these credential words will be approved by his wife.

His elaborations on the things he has managed to do in America are essentially used to provoke his wife’s interest in this country. These descriptions are used as reassurance for his wife to know of the great opportunities he has found in America but not back home in England. Downe believes this will strike his wife as another reason why she will enjoy her new life in America and compares their troublesome life in England to the great possibilities that can be accomplished in this new country.

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He explains, “this is a country where a man can stand as a man, and where he can enjoy the fruits of his own exertions, with rational liberty to its fullest extent”, hoping that his comparisons to the life in England and the life in America will evoke in his wife a sense of longing for this kind of living. Downe’s convincing words showing all of the achievements he has experienced in America lead his wife to want this same kind of exposure.

Downe continues to expand on the things he has accomplished in America with his development of pathos through long, periodic sentences. He mentions that on the table there was “pudding, pyes, and fruit of all kind that was in season…” and “they do not think of locking the doors in this country” to assure his wife of the safety and prosperity of this country. He then goes on to acknowledge, with emotional appeal, that all he “wants now is to see you, and the dear children here, and then I shall be happy, and not before”.

This is Downe’s development of pathos for the purpose of persuading and influencing his wife to make her decision much easier about emigrating to America with the children. He hopes to influence her decision by explaining how much better off they would be as a family, together in one country. Although he announces that he will only be happy if his family comes to America to live with him, Downe concludes that he does not “repent of coming” and he “would rather cross the Atlantic ten times than hear my children cry”.

By his mentioning that he does not regret one bit coming to America, Downe hopes to display for his wife how great of a country America is. The pathos are purposefully placed there by Downe to show to his wife that although he has left his family, he would do it all over again just to live in the convenient country of America- hoping this will stir some kind of desire in his wife’s mind.

Through his emotional words, Downe demonstrates that the travel to America is nothing compared to what this country holds in store for their family. Although he explains to his wife there will be “a few inconveniences in crossing the Atlantic”, in the end she will enjoy the United States of America. In the midst of his pathos, it is possible to conclude that Downe’s reason for leaving his family behind is to find opportunity for a new life, which America provides.

Through his use of repetition and periodic sentences, John Downe develops credibility and emotional appeal. Through his repetition of “I”, he is able to bestow upon his wife a feeling of longing for the same freedom and prosperity he has gained when coming to America by showing her all of the things he has accomplished while living in this country. With Downe’s strategic pathos, he manages to convince his wife that all he wants for their family is wealth, health, and land- all of which can be found in America.

John Downe essay

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