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The Key To Exquisite Writing: Thomas Paine And His Use Of Urgency


English III
1st period

A preacher dies, and when he goes to Heaven, he sees a New York cab driver who has a higher place than him. He says to Saint Peter, “I don’t get it. I devoted my whole life to my congregation and some taxi driver has a higher place in Heaven than I do?” Saint Peter says, “We reward results. Did your congregation always pay attention when you gave a sermon?” The preacher says, “Once in a while someone fell asleep.” Saint Peter says, “Right. And when people rode in this guy’s taxi, they not only stayed awake, but they usually prayed.” Perspective. Perception plays a key role in the overall chemistry of any literary composition. It is in this perspective that one discovers through the writings of Thomas Paine that there are an infinite number of ways to stir up nationalism and the willingness to rebel. One’s incorporation of the tone in urgency is used to feed the colonists’ anger and need of desire for life, liberty and the pursuit and of happiness.

“If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace, and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America.” (The Crisis, Number I) Through this selection one conceives the unfaltering passion and hunger for freedom, if not for oneself, then for one’s future generations. Paine indirectly suggest that it is a moral imperative to do so. It’s comparable to the moral debate that was produced by a Dr. Watson. It states that if there were to be only a certain amount of food left on earth and that it could last one person a lifetime or everyone only a few days, that we should pick the moral imperative and share the food with everyone. At the point where there is progress in the morale of the people, death is even justified. Paine consolidates this into his writings by urging for an instantaneous rebellion so that their children would be able to live in peace and not have to suffer any detriment, even if it means having to sacrifice something in return. In order to do the antecedent, it is imperative that they embark on this mission contiguously, which Paine urges by stating the prior quote.

“The heart that feels not now, is dead: the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy.” (The Crisis, Number I) Paine contends that now is the key time to make any move, if any move at all. It’s much like a giggapet. A giggapet requires constant training and feeding and any other requirements needed to get it to it’s highest health status. If one giggapet acquires no attention or very little for a significant amount of time, it’s health will fail. Now if the antithesis were to happen with the other we would see two distinct pets, one being potent and the other being powerless. The next stage would be the battle. Obviously the pet with the most power will win. America is much like this weak giggapet. If we put thoughts of a revolution aside, we will not feed our qualifying factors for a rebellion and become weak, while the opposition sequentially gains power.
“Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected even to the end of time by the proceedings now. Now is the seedtime of continental union, faith, and honor.” (Common Sense) This has to be the juncture where Paine comes out and spells everything out for the colonists. Paine comes out and pronounces, “Now is the seedtime..” hinting for the colonists to take this idea and run with it, and initiate the revoluti on immediately. So one can easily grasp how the title “Common Sense” came to be. Another assertion is made when it is states that whatever we do now will induce the future. The timeframe of the implementation of a revolutionary policy will play a key role in the outcome of the revolutionary war. Paine states if they start the war now it will have a contrary outcome than if they had started it a few months ago.

“Until an Independence is declared, the continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it must be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.” (Common Sense) Paine now states that a revolution is inevitable and that it should be taken care of as soon as possible. Paine comes out and blatantly tells the colonists that the common mindset among colonists is that they wish not to go to war now, but feel that they must at one point or another. It’s exactly like a test or a paper for a regular high school student. Students tend to push the work aside until the very last minute. Much like how students must study for a test or write a paper, these colonists wish to procrastinate until they are basically forced into a war.

The perspective of the revolution is molded through Thomas Paine’s writings, Common Sense and The Crisis, Number I. He makes aware to us the great impact that the use of the tone of urgency leaves in the minds of the colonists. Paine gets the colonists to progress towards life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by outlining what will happen if we fail to act tout-de-suite. There are an infinite number of ways to stir up nationalism and the willingness to rebel in anyone, but Paine captures the use of urgency and uses it efficiently to his advantage.