February 28, 2017

Homework Help: Essay for AP English

Posted by Emily on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 11:59pm.

Would someone be willing to critique and edit my essay? Thanks so much!

PROMPT: Read the two sermons "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and "Beauty of the World" by Jonathan Edwards. Compare and contrast the rhetorical strategies of tone, lexicon, and syntax in the two pieces. Why did he compose these as he did, what are you to gain, and how do you know?

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and “Beauty of the World” are two powerful sermons delivered by Jonathan Edwards, but they convey completely different meanings. In both homilies, Edwards utilizes the use of lexicon and syntax to properly convey a certain tone in each.

The tones expressed in both sermons are drastically different from each other, especially in Edwards’ choice of lexicon in each. In the “Sinners” sermon, Edwards seems as if he’s talking down to his audience. The audience intended to receive the message of this was mainly teenagers and children, to “warn” them of their fate if they fail at their duties of being a person of God. He uses words and phrases such as “hell” and “there is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God” to frighten his audience. However, in his “Beauty” sermon, he is mainly focused on the more cold-hearted people of his congregation. His tone is more hopeful and calm than in his other sermon. He repeatedly uses words like “beauty”, “gentle”, and “serenity” to calm his audience.

The choice of syntax by Edwards also greatly influenced his conveyed tone in both his pieces. In his “Sinners” sermon, he uses long sentences to describe at length the fiery pits of hell and how sinful people were going to end up there. He also used long sentences in his “Beauty” sermon, except he was describing in great detail the natural movements of Earth’s creations, almost in a surreal sense. The use of long sentences in his “Sinners” sermon was to mainly build up a climax and involve the subject of the people of the congregation in each sentence, to keep the audience absorbed in the entire piece. In the “Beauty” sermon, the long sentences keep the audience in almost a dream-like state while Edwards ran through images of examples of Earth’s beauty. Syntax played a major factor in establishing Edwards’ tone in his sermons.

The tones in the sermons “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and “Beauty of the World” was very important in Edwards’ delivery of them to his congregations. If they lacked the proper tone appropriate for their subjects, the effect would have been completely worthless to the congregation.

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