Essay about Samuel Johnson 's A Letter

1574 Words Jul 22nd, 2015 7 Pages
On June 8th, 1762, Samuel Johnson wrote a letter to a woman who had requested his help. The task for Samuel Johnson was to ask the archbishop of Canterbury for patronage to have the woman’s son sent to a university. This was certainly a big and almost impossible task for Samuel Johnson. Therefore, Johnson replied to the woman who had requested his help with great denial. But how can people craft their denial to someone who is possibly in great need of help? Samuel Johnson was able to craft his denial through powerful use of diction, complex syntax, and the use of ethos, logos, and pathos. “I hope you will believe that my delay in answering your letter could proceed only from my unwillingness to destroy any hope that you had formed.” (Johnson, Lines 1-3) Samuel Johnson uses this sentence as the opening of his response to the woman’s request. Through this sentence, Johnson wants to apologize to the woman for his delay in a punctual response, but also uses powerful diction such as “unwillingness” and “destroy” to craft his denial. By using words such as “unwillingness” and “destroy,” it tells the woman from the onset of his letter that he ultimately denied to help her and her son in their time of need, and it also tells the woman that his decision and position of denial is unchangeable. Therefore, Johnson was able to craft his denial through the use of powerful diction. Secondly, Samuel Johnson is able to use complex syntax (sentence structure) in order to craft his denial…

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