Authors use several distinct literary elements in their works. Jonathan Edwards was the preacher of the great sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Patrick Henry was a powerful political figure and the author of the "Speech to the Virginia Convention." Both Edwards and Henry share similarities and differences in their use of certain literary elements such as diction, imagery, and tone.
Jonathan Edwards used a more religious approach in his use of literary elements. Edwards uses negative diction when he says, "natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of hell, they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it" (37). Edwards is trying to awaken and persuade those who are living their life in sin. Edwards uses a vivid and harsh form of imagery, "the bow of God, wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart and an angry God keeps that arrow one moment from being drunk with your blood" (38). The reader is struck with a picture of God being the only thing standing between him and a painful death. Edwards has a ranging tone throughout his sermon. He begins with a threatening attitude by saying "the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them" (37). The reader is frightened by listening to the consequences of being evil. However, Edwards concludes his sermon with soothing talk of God's "door of mercy [being] wide open" (40). This tone gives the reader a feeling of .
light at the end of the tunnel. The use of these literary tools aids in providing strength in Jonathan Edwards" works.
Patrick Henry takes a more political approach to his use of diction, imagery, and tone in his "Speech to the Virginia Convention." Whereas Edwards uses negative diction to put fear in sinners, Henry uses diction to provoke hatred toward British parliament and to stir up a possible revolution.