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“Letter One” of Letters to a Young Poet was the beginning of the correspondence between the young, nineteen year old aspiring poet Frank Kappus and writer Rainer Maria Rilke. At the time, Kappus was a student at a military academy, similar to one Rilke had attended. Kappus felt that poetry was his true calling, therefore, he sought advice from Rilke. Rilke made it abundantly clear in his letter that criticism is what destroys art and is irrelevant since art comes from within. He remains perceptive throughout his writing, and he chooses specific words that convey a particular tone and helps establish two central ideas. Rilke establishes a brash and frank tone in the beginning of his letter. He begins by thanking Kappus for sending …show more content…
After writing from within, Rilke says Kappus will see his poetryas, “[his] dear natural possession, a piece of [his] life…”(2). These phrases establish a strong emotional connection with one’s writing, suggesting to the reader that Rilke has a passionate tone. Rilke continues his letter by explaining to Kappus what to do if it is his true calling to be a poet. Rilke says to, “take the destiny upon [him]self, and bear its burden and its greatness…”(3). Rilke using the word “destiny” shows that he believes that one’s life must be consumed with writing poetry if they feel it’s their calling, which shows he is passionate about it. The words “burden” and “greatness” convey that art is a serious way of life and one should take full responsibility for all of the ups and downs one would experience living this way. This further establishes that Rilke believes that living a life that revolves around art is a grave decision that a person should make very carefully, therefore showing that Rilke is passionate about poetry and art in this half of his letter. Rilke also becomes friendly with Kappus when giving his closing remarks at the end of his letter. He tells him that a full life is, “what [he] wish[es] for [him]”(3). This phraseshows that Rilke becomes more friendly towards Kappus, completely opposite to his callous nature at the start of his letter. Moreover, Rilke is also more comfortable with Kappus; he has more of a connection with him. This is simply shown by the use of the rhetorical question, “What else can I tell you?”(3). The use of a question conveys a more informal tone, which someone would use if they were conversing with a friend. Because of this, the reader can come to the conclusion that Rilke is more friendly with Kappus at this point in his letter. In the very last sentenceof his letter,

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