In the passage
In the passage, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu utilizes rhetorical and stylistic devices to express her views about the role of knowledge in women’s lives. By clearly appealing to the specific audience of her daughter and effectively manipulating diction and tone, Montagu’s insistence of the necessity of knowledge for a woman to survive in the world of men is clearly conveyed.
Montagu defines her purpose and caters to the specific audience of her daughter throughout the entire passage. The need for knowledge to see through “poor plagiaries” of admirers in order to remain a respectable lady is demonstrated to her daughter in this informational letter. Her inclusion of a childhood anecdote personalizes the letter and emphasizes her point. Montagu’s purpose is always clear and through the direct adress, “you should encourage your daughter,” the aim at a specific audience is maintained.
Montagu, however, also skillfully uses stylistic devices to stress her opinion that knowledge for a woman is needed to “moderate the passions, and learn to be contented with a small expense,” not to mention for the “amusement of solitude.” Montagu’s confident attitude, verging on haughty, is is reflected through her choice of diction and selection of detail. Being the well-educated woman that she is, she is able to “save” one of her companions from the “destruction” of the less educated. Montagu enjoys the advantages of being one of “universal reading” and feels it is her “duty” to project this wisdom for the goodness of others, specifically her granddaughter. Montagu establishes her authority through her strikingly confident attitude, diction, and detail.
In the letter to her daughter, Lady Montagu manipulates rhetoric and style to express her views of women’s education. “True Knowledge” enables a lady to lead a respectable and educated life, being able to “read books in their originals,” and spurning “envy” from the less educated. Montagu sticks to her purpose and audience, while emphasizing her opinion through diction, detail and tone.