Ideas can be conveyed in many different ways dependant on the tone, style and diction of the piece. Both William Hazlitt and Mark Twain present a very similar topic in two very different ways. Hazlitt”s “Education of Women” speaks of how classical education is not proper for women. Twain”s “Female Suffrage” reiterates the idea that women should not be able to vote or hold public office. Hazlitt”s 1815 essay is a true opinion of his own feelings against having educated females. 1867, a different time with similar ideas, is the setting of Twain”s piece. He portrays how the relationship between suffrage and women is completely ridiculous. These authors use different styles to display completely opposite points.
Hazlitt wastes no time getting to his point in order to drive it into the minds of the readers. He intends that his audience is only the educated male society. Hazlitt feels that women do not need to be anything more than generally educated. He attempts to convince his audience to accept his views and practice them. Twain, on the other hand, is creating a humorous situation which picks at the number of crazy positions that his wife holds in the community. He is not trying to make the audience think that female suffrage is bad. Twain intends that all people will read his piece for comic relief.
Hazlitt uses a very straightforward type of diction in his essay. He explains his points and backs them up with his own opinions and observations. He is very authoritative and arrogant in the way he speaks.
“They are mere egoists. They have no passion for truth, nor any love of what is purely ideal”
He feels that his way is the right and only way to think. Since he speaks unto the educated community, he uses well-accepted ideas to communicate his points. Twain uses hyperbole, an approach very different from Halzitt”s style. Twain takes the offices held by his wife and exaggerates them to a humorous level. His diction is very relaxed and calmed. The tone Twain tends to adopt can be misinterpreted as self-centered, but his intent is only to bring a sense of fun to the audience.
Hazlitt”s effect of style is very powerful. The essay is very convincing and if it is read to establish ideas, it is nothing short of excellent. The way he compiles the words with his diction, makes the points in his essay incredibly moving. When read by the desired audience, this piece is quite moving and powerful. If a female reads this, the expected reaction is a sense of loathing. Twain accomplishes his goal of being humorous and entertaining. His combination of creative ideas with a serious topic displays his great deal of writing skills. The reader is torn between believing what Twain writes and seeing the humor of hyperbole. The reader is very amused by the decisions that have to be made on interpretation.
Hazlitt and Twain use different style, tone and diction to explain to readers their feelings on touchy issues. Hazlitt uses very powerful and persuasive ways of speaking to convince his readers that the education of women is completely unnecessary. Twain is quite entertaining to read because he pokes at his wife”s positions. He assumes that the reader will identify that he is only attempting to entertain his audience. Both authors are very different in style but by using different types of writing, they prove totally different points with the same subject.
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