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In this world, money is a necessity. In William Hazlitt’s critical and didactic excerpt from, “On the Want of Money,” he bears witness and exposes to his audience that although money is not necessarily a source of happiness, it is fundamental in order to achieve any other sort of joy and comfort on earth. Hazlitt employs adverse diction and the layering of evidence through syntax to then further his argument on the necessity of money.
Hazlitt’s fatalistic diction exposed to the readers how without money, one’s life on earth is rather misfortunate and uncomfortable, to say the least. Words such as, “despised,” “exile,” “rejected,” and “avoided,” reveal the bleak lifestyle of a poverty-stricken, penniless human being. This pessimistic diction suggests and constructs the awful, unhappy life that one will live in the lack of money. Words such as, “disappointment,” dissatisfied,” “querulous,” and “morose,” demonstrates the discontent which one lives life feeling if there is no money to spend on luxuries and other such pleasures. However, diction such as, “hope,” “succeed,” “enthusiasm,” and “fortune,” suggest that a life of riches and abundance is also a life of satisfaction. Through Hazlitt’s gloomy diction, he was able to disclose with his audience his position on the necessity of money if one desires to life a well-off, enjoyable life.
William Hazlitt’s layering of evidence aided in bringing to light his argument on the vitality of having money in order to live a favorable life because he had the information to sustain his appeal. One piece of material exercised to further his point was “to be a law-stationer, or a scrivener or scavenger,” suggesting that a life without money is similar to the life of a scrounger with nothing of his own. The evidence, to be “avoided by those who know your worth and shrink from it is as a claim on their respect or their purse,” manifests the idea that you will be treated differently by those who are aware of the amount of money in your pocket. Lastly, the piece of evidence stating, “to be a burden to your relations, or unable to do anything for them,” validates that with money, people will feel pity for you and your situation, but without it, you cannot help others—or yourself. The layering of evidence done through syntax in this advisory excerpt exposes the theme that Hazlitt was constructing: being the fact that in this society, money will be the cornerstone to happiness and progress.
“Literally and truly, one cannot get on well in this world without money.” William Hazlitt both understood and felt that it was his duty to prove to his audience why money has become a necessity in this world. He employed depressing diction and the scaffolding of evidence to more clearly emphasize his point of view “on the want of money.”