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English 3 Lesson 20: Is the language of Foxe still compelling today?

First of all, in my opinion, that’s a pretty opinion based statement. Since it’s not asking for my opinion specifically if it’s compelling or not, I’ll still be discussing what I think about this topic.

Before I actually head into why I think Foxe’s language is compelling or not, I’ll describe the background behind Foxe’s writing. Foxe’s writing was mostly based on the persecutions of Protestant Christians under the reign of Queen Mary I. Many, however, of the most memorable moments in his book came from the accounts of martyrs who perished during her reign. He believed that there was limited amount of time in history left before the return of Christ. In England, 2 groups, the Anglicans and Puritans, were the ones to read this book. Ironically enough, both groups were opposed to each other on many certain things.

The book was put into all the churches of England, but many bought it to keep them in their homes. Foxe’s book played a pretty big part in those times of England century. In response to this background, I have to point out that the people wouldn’t be buying this book from left and right if it was boring or uninteresting. The fact that this book was presented in all the churches and a lot of people kept a copy for themselves in their homes, already says a lot about Foxe’s language. He was able to present it in such a way, to capture the reader’s attention, provide very good detail and backups for certain information. His rhetoric skills must have been pretty good enough to have everyone buying his book back then.

Foxe was very detailed and descriptive when it came to describing the victims of persecution. What they were wearing and what they said on their execution day word for word. To provide such info makes the readers more tuned into what Foxe has to say. It also puts them in a position to believe in the fact that Foxe’s writing can be trusted and that he’s a reliable resource. For example, I personally really loved that one sentence in which he said, “He is the candle that lights England.” That one sentence is such a powerful statement. Foxe was saying that whenever Latimer made a significant sign when getting executed and that Latimer presented that candle which sparked many people living in England.

Foxe also tells the story of Lady Jane Gray, but emphasizes her theological rather than political position in the aftermath of the death of Edward VI. She stands fast regarding the Protestant faith against the preaching of a catholic theologian who is trying to convert her to catholicism. Jane gets in a debate with the catholic theologian, but is not convinced of catholicism. Lady Jane Gray died for treason against queen Mary. Foxe’s language is effective here too, as he uses her story to state that catholicism and protestantism are irreconcilable.

In conclusion, in my opinion, Foxe’s writing may be compelling for those interested in literature or at least this specific part of literature where he talks about the reign of Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. I think this would be compelling to me mainly because I was moved by the detailed descriptions of these people and how the executions went exactly.

Thanks for reading this essay. Hope you all enjoyed reading it or learned something new. I’ll be posting more soon and have a great rest of your day.

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