Characteristics

To gain a better understanding of “The Frontier Heritage” by Edward N. Kearny, we encourage you to also focus on the characteristics of argumentation, on rhetorical devices, forms of appeal, and on language and style of writing.

Argumentation

Out of the two main forms of argumentation (open and closed), the author chooses to use open argumentation. This means that his main thesis and each of the arguments supporting his point of view are presented directly. For instance, Kearny presents his thesis from the first lines openly— that, for Americans, the idea of the frontier “has been a particularly important force in shaping their national values” (p. 103, ll. 5-6).

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Language

The language of the essay is easy to understand but formal, as one would expect of a historical text. The choice of words reflects a neutral, impersonal language (for instance the author talks of Americans as a social group, rather than using the personal pronoun ‘we’ although he is also an American). Figurative language is seldom employed and it is very subtle and (again) impersonal: “Here, both land and life were more rugged and primitive than in the more settled eastern part.” (p. 103, ll. 12-13);

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