Letters Of Condolence Essay

895 words - 4 pages

“A condolence letter is a strange hybrid of forms. It is for the mourner, but about the deceased. It is formal, but emotional. It gestures simultaneously at the past, the present and the future. It seeks to provide solace while acknowledging that there is no genuine solace to be provided.” During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln found himself writing letters to the love ones of many fallen Union soldiers. In the following letters of condolence, Lincoln tries to evoke emotions and memories about the decreased in the mourners by describing the type of person their lost was, Lincoln also tries to form the foundation for the process of the mourners healing by using bright and lively words, but knowing that his words arent enough for the mourners, he tells them that he was once in their situation in an attempt to let them know he knows what he is talking about.
In all three letters of condolence, Abraham Lincoln describes the fallen Union soldiers as brave and/or kind which arises emotions in his audience. In the first letter, Lincoln states that even though Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth was young, he had a “power” to command men and that this power was a combination of “a fine intellect, an indomitable energy, and a taste altogether military” by stating this, Lincoln conceives in the mind of Ellsworth’s parents what kind of soldier was their son. one can also infer that by stating this, it reveals a son who, maybe, Ellsworth’s parents didn't know. This indicates that Ellsworth was someone tough in the battlefield, which is what you need to be when you're in the field. In the second letter, Lincoln also defines Fanny’s father as “brave.” But unlike with Ellsworth’s parent who maybe didn't know the “brave” side of their son, one can infer that Fanny did know her father was brave and strong because these are common characteristics a father is given. even though Lincoln does not clearly refers to the son of the madam in the third letter as “brave” one can infer by Lincoln's words “who have died gloriously on the field of battle” that this madam’s five sons were indeed brave because, again, this is something a soldier needs to be when fighting in the field. Along with this characteristic, Lincoln states that the fallen Union soldiers were also kind. Lincoln refers to Ellsworth as a“ noble son,” to his parents, “ he was singularly modest and deferential…” In the second letter, Lincoln just states that Fanny’s father was “kind.” With these words, Lincoln reveals the person the mourner people knew when...

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