Abigail Adams

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How does Abigail Adams use analogies to support her opinions?

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Abigail Adams was a highly creative letter writer, and she often used a variety of analogies and metaphors to illustrate and support her opinions. She does this both to create interest for her readers (and likely for herself) and also to make her points more convincing and poignant.

In one text, for instance, Adams compares men to the masters and women to the slaves. She does this to make the point that in her era, women’s freedoms were extremely limited. Women were expected to submit to their husbands in all things. They owned no property of their own. They could not vote or officially participate in public life. Indeed, women were not truly free and equal, and Adams realized that, hence her strong analogy.

Adams uses other analogies as well. In a letter to her husband, she asks him about “your Judas,” apparently comparing someone who opposed and betrayed John Adams to the biblical traitor who betrayed Christ. This is strong language indeed. Adams also tells her husband to be sure to write to her often, for “every line is like a precious Relic of the Saints.” She treasures his every word, this comparison tells us.

In a letter to her son, Adams compares a traveler to a river. The farther a person travels, the wider and deeper that person becomes, just like a river flowing from its source.

We can see, then, that Abigail Adams had a knack for vivid language that she employed to support and deepen her opinions.

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