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An AP prompt essay discussing how writers must prepare to be unsatisfied Essay

Everyday more and more people try to make a profession in being a successful writer. In this passage, aspiring writer Melusina Fay Peirce writes to novelist Marian Evans Lewes asking if beginning writing at thirty is too old. Evans is moved by this letter and responds mentioning thirty is not too old. In the letter, she comments that even an accomplished writer such as herself is rarely satisfied with hours of work. It is impossible to be an accomplished writer without having years of wisdom behind you.

Throughout the passage, she utilizes various persuasive techniques such as refutation and analogies in order to depict novice work as tasteless. In Lewes response to Peirce, she incorporates many rhetorical strategies in order to convey that writers must prepare to be unsatisfied and must not be concerned about flattery because success in writing comes only with maturity. In the beginning of the letter, Evans uses a plethora of rhetorical strategies which suggest that in order to be a writer one must be ready to be unsatisfied. Evans declares her “consciousness is not of the triumphant kind”.

Beginning her letter with a refutation immediately conveys that being a writer is a difficult life. Although one may put hours of hard work into a novel, satisfaction is not always achieved. She then states that “Exultation is a dream before achievement and rarely comes after”. Evans suggests that she often fancies admiration before her work is finished only to encounter a deficiency of praise after. While Lewes may be a praised writer, she shocks Peirce when saying she is rarely commended for her work; writers’ dreams are seldom met.

When encountering the lack of the praise writers such as Evans tend to feel like a “poor husk”. Evans uses this word to convey the emptiness in which she feels after writing. One always feels like it is possible to create better work but doesn’t know where to look. She then continues on and inquire to Peirce “Does these seem melancholy? ‘. This rhetorical question implies that these feelings of “incompleteness” and emptiness are far less melancholy than self-flattery. This connects to the refutation at the beginning of the paragraph stating that writers seldom feel triumphant.

Using the various strategies, Evans conveys that to be a writer one must not be concerned about flattery and must be prepared to be unfulfilled. In the next paragraph, Evans refutes Peirce’s main concern of being too old to start writing by giving support to the idea that success come with maturity. Lewes responds by mentioning “not to fancy yourself old because you are thirty, or to regret you have not written anything”. This refutation replies to Peirce’s concern that she is too old and tells Peirce not to worry.

She then states that it does not even matter if one hasn’t written anything prior to being an established writer. Lewes then mentions that the writing of a young writer is “no better than trashy, unripe fruit”. The underdeveloped fruit mirrors the underdeveloped minds and writing of the young writers. He then states that there is nothing worse than a writer who has “exhausted himself”. One cannot burn out writing all of their material while young. A successful writer needs to be patient, as triumph in literature comes with experience in everyday life.

Towards the end of the letter, Evans reflects that when she was young “she began a sort of writing which had no great glory belonging to it, but which she felt certain she could do faithfully and well”. This anecdote also works as an emotional appeal as it sympathizes with Peircr, implying mutual feelings both writers felt while young. Evans suggests that mature and older writers are more patient in their writing, consequently producing better works. Evans is very persuasive in her position which states achievements in writings will come along with maturity.

In Lewes’s letter to Peirce, she includes numerous persuasive techniques in order to convey that writers must prepare to be unsatisfied and must not be concerned about flattery because success in writing only comes with maturity. Evans’s main point is that one is never too old to begin writing. An aspiring writer shouldn’t hold back on account that they haven’t produced descent works in the past. Wisdom, compassion and insight all come with years of aging and are needed to produce successful writing.


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