In the piece written by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, she writes a letter to her daughter on how she believes her granddaughter should be educated. Lady Montagu discusses how knowledge affects a woman’s life in that time period. She also discusses how she feels a woman should be educated. In order to effectively communicate her views she uses rhetorical devices. “True knowledge consists in knowing things, not words. ” Lady Montagu wants her granddaughter to “read books in their originals. ” Books that are translated are always “corrupted” and “injured. In a woman’s education, English poetry plays a more important role than is “generally supposed. ” Lady Montagu also wants her daughter to discuss with her granddaughter what the granddaughter reads. Knowledge for women, “besides the amusement of solitude, [moderates] the passions, and [learns] to be [content] with a small expense. ” One of the rhetorical and stylistic devices Lady Montagu uses is contrast. Through out the entire letter she is contrasting traditional views with non-traditional views.
The very first line is a very non-traditional statement saying “True knowledge consists of knowing things, not words”. Again she compares traditional vs. non traditional in the statement about the reading. Reading books in the original language allowed a more accurate interpretation of the meaning but was a more non-traditional way compared to reading books that had been translated which often ruin the true meaning, which was the traditional way. Lady Montagu applies stylistic devices such as rhetorical devices which include parenthesis, an anecdote, formal language, voice, and tone.
By using parenthesis in line 16 “…the second caution to be given her (and which is most absolutely necessary) is to conceal whatever learning she attains with solicitude…,” Lady Montagu interrupts the normal syntactical flow of the sentence. By doing this she shows how greatly she feels that her granddaughter must have a good education and not be foolish and ignorant in what she reads and how she interprets her readings. She also feels that education is very important, in general.
Lady Montagu also shows this by using an anecdote about her education. She talks about her knowledge having saved a friend from “destruction. ” Lady Montagu writes to her daughter formally. She is talking to her daughter, yet she uses formal language, most likely to show that she is well educated and knows how to speak properly. Lady Montagu’s voice clearly shows in her writing. She is passionate about not only her granddaughter’s education, but women’s education as a whole. She writes in a very didactic tone.