Rhetorical devices

Rhetorical devices are those techniques that a sender uses to convince the receiver to reflect on a certain topic from a certain perspective. In “The Frontier Heritage”, Edward N. Kearny makes use of rhetorical questions, American wisdom sayings (proverbs) and allusions (to other texts and historical events).

Rhetorical questions

A rhetorical question opens the author’s line of argumentation and has the purpose of getting the readers involved with the topic and making them reflect on the idea of...



The author also includes two literary allusions and various historical ones. Firstly, the motto of the text and the ending are references to historian Fredrick Jackson Turner and his 1893 Frontier Thesis. Through these references, Kearny shows readers what inspired him to reflect on the impact of the concept of frontier on Americans.

Secondly, the author alludes to the 1835 book, Democracy in America by Alexis Tocqueville: “In the 1830s Tocqueville said that no other country in the world more confidently seizes the future than the United States.” (p. 104, ll. 29-30)



To better illustrate American values, the author inserts catchy American proverbs which demonstrate how popular wisdom has been influenced by the concept of the frontier:


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