The View from Saturday

by E. L. Konigsburg
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Why does E.L. Konigsburg repeat the word crushing three times at this point in The View from Saturday?

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In E.L. Konigsburg's The View from Saturday, Julian Singh discusses what the phrase "to meet one's Waterloo" means. Within the ten words which encompass his answer, the word "crushing" is repeated three times.

"To meet one's Waterloo means to suffer a crushing defeat." Crushing applause followed a nanosecond of crushing silence." 

Konigsburg uses repetition in order to make a point. First, Julian's answer involves the word crushing. Here, it refers to a very horrible defeat, one which the losers were unable to come back from. Second, the crushing applause and the crushing silence are stylistic choices made to reaffirm the grand nature of Julian's answer. With this answer, Julian's team, Epiphany, ahead in the competition. The crushing silence illustrates the impact a wrong answer could have had on Julian and his team, or it could illustrate the impact the silence has on Julian as he waits to see if his answer is counted as correct. Ironically, the crushing applause contrasts Julian's use of it in his answer. Instead of signalling something negative, as with a defeat, this crushing applause signals something grand. 

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