Emphasis

Isolation.

Isolating a short sentence either at the beginning or end of a paragraph can be an effective use of emphasis:

Spurred by the kidnapper’s note, we grabbed shovels and took the train to Woodlawn Cemetery in Queens. We arrived, hoping that despite being buried for ten days with only Gatorade and Wonder Bread for sustenance, she would still be alive. She wasn’t.

Position:

Without emphasis:

My youngest sister Nina is the demon seed to me, but to my parents she is an angel.

With Emphasis:

To my parents, Nina is an angel; to me, she is the demon seed.

“I love Christmas,” says Shmulee. “It’s so…Jewish.”

Nothing says I love your cooking like a bucketful of vomit.

My mother’s new boyfriend was as handsome as a prince and as faithful as a rabbit.

Repetition:

Although sometimes monotonous, repetition can build emphasis.

I did not trust the teeny-weeny robot. I did not trust how he whistled when he rolled on silent wheels beneath the couch. I did not trust his smile when he told us he had been out all night searching for loose change that he would donate to The Home for Old Robots, his favorite charity. Above all, I did not trust his explanation for stringing wire across the sidewalk between 79th and 80th Streets, wire that sent a businessman in a silk, pin-striped suit sprawling face first into a steaming pile of dog shit.
son-of-sam.jpg
(excerpt from Son of Sam’s note to The Daily News)

Hello from the gutters of N.Y.C. which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urine and blood. Hello from the sewers of N.Y.C. which swallow up these delicacies when they are washed away by the sweeper trucks. Hello from the cracks in the sidewalks of N.Y.C. and from the ants that dwell in these cracks and feed on the dried blood of the dead that has settled into these cracks.

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1 comment so far

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