Analyzing Persuasive Techniques in John Downes Letter

Categories: John Updike

In, John Downe's letter, John Downe uses exaggerated imagery, emotional appeals, and frequent repetition of ideas or phrases, in an attempt to persuade his wife to emigrate to America with the couple's children. He uses these tactics in order to persuade his wife to uproot herself and move across a vast distance to him. John Downe creates a tone of wondrous richness, and generosity to establish a positive picture of a potential life in America. He creates this tone in an attempt to resonate with the hardships of his wife, and potentially persuade her into moving.

In his letter, John Downe uses frequent exaggerated imagery throughout to embellish life in America, knowing that his wife is struggling with poverty in England, John Downe begins to try to convince her, by barraging her with assortments of all the cheap food available. He begins by raving on about, "they had pudding, pyes, and fruit of all kind that was in season, and preserves, pickles, vegetables, meat, and everything that a person could wish…"

By doing this, John Downe begins to create the illusion of an overabundance of cheap food in America, which is an attempt to impress his wife, whom may not be accustomed to being able to choose from such a large, extravagant menu of foods to choose from at any given moment.

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By using exaggeration, and borderline hyperbole in this way, John Downe is attempting to appeal to his wife, who can be assumed to be rather impoverished, from the way John talks of, ".

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.. there was nothing but poverty before me…"

It becomes strikingly evident that the family was poor and hungry in England, when John reminds his wife of this. Throughout his letter, he continues to embellish the richness, and prosperity of America, by talking of how even a lowly farmer can afford such a feast, JohnDowne implies so can he and his family if they decide emigrate. Downe continues to build on this idea by his further explanations on, listing the foods that can be obtained freely on the side of the road, "peaches, apples, and all kinds of fruit".

Updated: Apr 29, 2023
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Analyzing Persuasive Techniques in John Downes Letter. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Analyzing Persuasive Techniques in John Downes Letter essay
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