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What is a device of emphasis used in this passage?  I need help understanding a...

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wahnails | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 7, 2012 at 3:45 AM via web

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What is a device of emphasis used in this passage?

 

I need help understanding a question on this assignment, here is the sentence:

In spite of the vast expanse of wilderness in this country, most Canadian children grow up in urban settings.
And the question is : What device of emphasis sparks the opening sentence, and how does it begin to introduce the author's subject.

And by the way the article is about kids being afraid of nature.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 7, 2012 at 2:46 PM (Answer #1)

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The strategy being used here by the writer is one of contrast and contradiction. Opening with a line regarding the "vast expanse" of open spaces in Canada the writer suggests one circumstance. An opposing circumstance is then introduced in the next phrase (children grow up in cities, not open spaces). 

Effectively, the writer is pointing to a contradictory relationship between the first situation and the second. 

Given the fact that open spaces exist in the country, we might reasonably expect people to spread out. We might look at the open spaces as a resource and expect people to take advantage of the resource. In contrast to this expectation, people tend not to spread out and choose to live in cities instead ("squandering the resource" perhaps, according to the writer).

The implication behind the phrase "urban spaces" is intended to be a direct contrast to the "vast expanses" of the countryside. 

The impact of the writer's statement is supposed to be emphasized by the apparent contrast between what we might reasonably assumed given the first circumstance provided in the opening phrase of the initial sentence. 

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