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01/20/2018

Parallelism

There are some kinds of repetition: lexical and syntactic. Lexical repetition is divided into:

  1. anaphora (the repetition of the same elements at the beginning of several sentences):

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And days of auld langsyne? (Burns)

  1. epiphora (the repetition of the same elements at the end of several sentences is called):

I am exactly the man to be placed in a superior position in such a case as that. L am above the rest of mankind, in such a case as that. I can act with philosophy in such a case as that. (Dickens)

Lexical repetition is often used to increase the degree of emotion:

‘Oh, No, John, No, John, No, John, No!‘ (folk song) And like a rat without a tail, I’ll do, I’ll do, I’ll do. (Shakespeare) [4]

The term Syntactic repetition refers to repetition of syntactic elements or constructions. This may include syntactic tautology, such as, for example, the repetition of the subject of a sentence, which is typical of English folklore:

Little Miss Muffet

She sat on a tuffet. (Nursery rhyme)

and also of later stylisations of the ballad character:

Ellen Adair she loved me well,

Against her father’s and mother’s will. (Tennison)

Syntactic tautology may be used in literary works to represent the speech of a person of little education: Well, Judge Thatcher, he took it. … (M. Twain)

Repetition of the subject may also be combined with giving it some more specific additional information:

She has developed power, this woman – this – wife of his! (Galsworthy)

Oh, it’s a fine life, the life of the gutter. (Shaw)

Syntactic parallelism is a special variant of syntactic repetition, which means repetition of similar syntactic constructions in the text in order to strengthen the emotional impact or expressiveness of the description:

The seeds ye sow – another reaps,

The robes ye weave – another wears,

The arms ye forge – another bears. (Shelley)

Few of them will return to their countries; they will not embrace our holy religion; they will not adopt our manners. (B. Franklin) (Dickens) [4]

Parallelism as a figure of speech is based upon a recurrence of syntactically identical sequences which lexically are completely or partially different [5].

e.g. “She was a good servant, she walked softly, she was a determined woman, she walked precisely.” (G. Greene) “They were all three from Milan, and one of them was to be a lawyer, and one was to be a painter, and one had intended to be a soldier…” (E. Hemingway)

Parallel constructions almost always include some type of lexical repetition too, and such a convergence produces a very strong effect, foregrounding at one go logical, rhythmic, emotive and expressive aspects of the utterance, so it is imminent in oratory art as well as in impassioned poetry:

You’ve hit no traitor on the hip.

You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,

You’ve never turned the wrong to right,

You’ve been a coward in the fight. (Ch. Mackay)

Like inversion, parallelism may be complete and partial:

Complete parallelism is observed when the syntactical pattern of the sentence that follows is completely similar to the proceeding one.

e.g. His door-bell didn’t ring. His telephone bell didn’t ring (D. Hammett).

Parallelism is considered to be partial when either the beginning or the end of several neighbouring sentences are structurally similar, e.g. I want to see the Gorgensens together at home, I want to see Macawlay, and I want to see Studsy Burke (D.Hammett) [5].

Parallel construction is a device which may be encountered not so much in the sentence as in the macro-structures dealt with earlier, i.e. the paragraph. The necessary condition in parallel construction is identical, or similar, syntactical structure in two or more sentences or parts of a sentence in close succession:

There were real silver spoons to stir the tea with, and real china cups to drink it out of, and plates of the same to hold the cakes. [1; 208].

Parallel construction is most frequently used in enumeration, antithesis and in a climax, thus consolidating the general effect achieved by these stylistic devices [1; 208].

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