Mark Twain uses a variety of rhetorical devices and strategies in his essay “Corn-pone Opinions.” Among those strategies are the following:
- The opening sentence of the essay establishes the speaker’s modesty and thus makes him almost immediately appealing. Thus, rather than saying, somewhat pompously, that he “resided in” a Missouri village, he merely (and humorously) says that he was “helping to inhabit it.” Humor and especially humor at his own expense are two of the ways Twain appeals to audiences in many works, including this essay.
- Twain next uses surprise, paradox, and humor when he says that he had a friend
whose society was very dear to me because I was forbidden by my mother to partake of it.
The paradoxical word here is “because”: just when we expect him to give a rational, logical explanation of his friendship, he gives us one that we could never have expected. This explanation is funny, not only because it catches us by surprise but also because it suggests that...
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