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In Lee's "Letter to His Son," what words does Lee use to describe war?

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reedcapps | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:14 PM via web

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In Lee's "Letter to His Son," what words does Lee use to describe war?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM (Answer #1)

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Lee uses fairly direct language to describe war.  Language such as "anarchy" is how Lee describes the war that will be brought on by succession.  When he anticipates what will happen with secession and the war which will result, he describes it as a "calamity.  Lee describes this state of being "as an accumulation of all the evils we complain of."  For Lee, the nation at war is not one he describes in terms of beauty:  

Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me.

Lee concludes his letter with the description of war's emotional timbre as one of "mourning" and one that he will have to embrace "sharing the miseries of my people."  One of the most insightful aspects of Lee's letter is his lack of Romanticism in describing war.  As a soldier would, Lee understands the horrors of war.  It is for this reason that the language used in the letter is reflective of a condition that cannot be embraced, no matter how much one believes in its causation.

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