The American Crisis
“The American Crisis: Number 1” by Thomas Paine is an excellent example of Thomas Paine’s distinct writing style. When Thomas Paine wrote this paper his purpose was to convince the American readers to rebel against Great Britain and fight for the independence they deserved. Paine did this by using a mixture of figurative language, inversion, and various rhetorical strategies. Therefore Thomas Paine’s writing style and purpose stemmed from his ability to use rhetorical strategies, figurative language, and inversion to make Americans passionate about independence. Figurative Language is one writing style element that Thomas Paine uses in “The American Crisis: Number 1”.
Similes are an example of some of the figurative language used in Paine’s paper. For example in Paine’s attempt to arouse the American people to action he compares tyranny to hell by saying “Tyranny like hell, is not easily conquered;” (Paine 108). In saying this Paine is explaining that the road to independence from the tyrannical superpower, Great Britain, will be hard fought; Paine conveys this point with the use of a simile. Another great figurative language element that Paine uses abundantly is personification. One avid example in Paine’s paper of personification could be when Paine says “that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion” (Paine 108).
This statement is Paine’s way of comparing America to a woman that wishes to be free from her tyrannical leader of Great Britain. One final figurative language element used in Thomas Paine’s paper is a metaphor. Paine’s metaphor states that “My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light” (Paine 110). The use of the word “as” and the comparison between Paine’s reasoning and a ray of light indicates that this statement is a metaphor; Paine is saying that he couldn’t see why anyone would misunderstand his reasoning since it is so clear. Figurative Language is proven by Paine to be quite effective in “The American Crisis: Number 1”. Inversion is another writing style element used in “The American Crisis: Number 1” by Thomas Paine.
Firstly, inversion is defined as a reversal of word order or position in a sentence that is not normally spoken in that way. For example when Paine is describing a man and his daughter he says “with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever say,” (Paine 108). Usually this phrase would have been repositioned to say “as I ever saw” before mentioning the girls age; this unusual phrase order makes the sentence an example of inversion. However, this is not the only example of inversion in “The American Crisis: Number 1”. Another inversion example employed by Thomas Paine is mentioned in paragraph three at the point where Paine says “though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire” (Paine 109). This sentence would also usually be phrased differently, perhaps by reversing the order of the words “may” and “sometimes” to create a more normal speech pattern.
Finally, one more example of inversion is used in paragraph five of “The American Crisis: Number 1”. In this example Paine states that “Not all the treasure of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me” (Paine 110). Paine rephrases the phrase “so far as I believe” when it should be stated “I believe so far”. Inversion is a common writing style element used in Thomas Paine’s “The American Crisis: Number 1”. Rhetorical strategies are a common literary device used in “The American Crisis: Number 1” by Thomas Paine.
Pathos, or the use of emotional appeal to persuade, is one rhetorical strategy Paine uses in his paper. For example in paragraph three Paine states that “Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must… take place and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” (Paine 108). This is and example of pathos because the quote appeals to the reader to make them have sympathy for the little girl with a selfish father. Another rhetorical strategy Paine employs is logos; logos is the use of numbers and statistics used to persuade. One example of this strategy would be in paragraph five when Paine says “Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands;” (Paine 110). This quote would be considered to contain logos because of the fact that it mentions the number “tens of thousands”.
The final rhetorical strategy used is ethos which is the use of authority figures to persuade. An example of ethos in Thomas Paine’s paper could be in paragraph one where Paine says “Britain with an army to enforce her tyranny,” (Paine 108). This quote is an example of ethos because of its reference to the superpower of the time period, Great Britain. Rhetorical strategies are just another device used by Thomas Paine to convey his message in “The American Crisis: Number 1”. “The “American Crisis: Number 1” by Thomas Paine demonstrates Paine’s writing style in many ways.
Using such strategies as figurative language, inversion, and rhetorical strategies Paine proved his purpose; this purpose was to convince Americans to go to war against Great Britain. In conclusion Thomas Paine’s writing style and purpose exhibited in “The American Crisis: Number 1” is a great example of how to successfully use figurative language, inversion, and rhetorical strategies. Works Cited Paine, Thomas . “”The American Crisis: Number 1″.” Trans. Array Elements of Literature.
. Fifth Course. Orlando: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1991. 108-111. Print.