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From 義妹生活, 浅村 got asked what does he think about 綾瀬 and it went like this

「……。美人……、だとは思います。はい」素直に答えた。 歯切れが悪くなってしまうのは、これから家族として一緒に暮らす異性のことをそんなふうに形容してしまうことへの罪悪感で胸の奥がモヤモヤするからだ。

人間関係に関するスタンスは近いものがありそうだけど、それでも綾瀬さんと自分が同じ世界の住人だと吹聴できるほど図々しくはなれなかった

I think「図々しくはなれなかった」can be broke down to either「図々しく+は+成れなかった」or「図々しく+はなれなかった」. Which one is correct? If it is the first one, does は add a sense of contrast to the adverb?

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2 Answers 2

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As you guessed, the first parsing is correct.

The meaning is more of an emphasis than contrast. Actually the は can be removed: 図々しくなれなかった.

Cf. デジタル大辞泉

3 叙述の内容、またはその一部分を強調して明示する意を表す。「喜ばずに―いられない」

Basically the part means he didn't dare to say Ayase-san and he belonged to the same world (because it would be too 図々しい). I'm not quite sure why saying it is 図々しい, though.

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This is 図々しく+は+成れなかった. And it has to be the contrastive は. It can't be a topic marking は. That's why you are likely to see が, けど, ものの, ところが, も, しても, でも, etc. tucked somewhere in the sentence. When you don't see any of these words, the contrast is implied and there are things left out.

奥に一番良いソファー席があった、学生服で陣取るほどに図々しくはなれなかった。(source)

ところが、お雪には、それほど図々しくはなれなかったのです。 (source)

For implied contrast, see this discussion.

〜くはない vs 〜くない in adjective negations

図々しくなった is also very common.

随分図々しくなったな、お前は
I see you've really gotten shameless (in your mannerism/words)

人間関係に関するスタンスは近いものがありそうだけどそれでも綾瀬さんと自分が同じ世界の住人だと吹聴できるほど図々しくはなれなかった。
Although there did seem to be certain aspects in our relationship that could be (objectively) described as close, I couldn't bring myself to do something as brazen as claiming that 綾瀬さん and I belonged to the same world.

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  • Thanks for the answer. This is interesting, I thought this kind of contrastive は is usually placed before contrastive conjunctions. Also, I believe「人間関係に関するスタンスは近いものがありそう」in the context of the novel is understood as "Our stances when it comes to human relationships are kind of similar..."
    – Jimmy Yang
    Mar 8 at 23:52

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