Anadiplosis is not a Skin Disease


Here’s the thing, the other day I was rifling through a closet looking for something—I never found what I was looking for but I excavated a list of literary devices I had made a long time ago for a workshop I was teaching. It was fascinating to read because it included some really interesting devices like Anadiplosis which sounds like a skin disease but really is the repetition of the last word of one phrase, clause, or sentence at or very near the beginning of the next such as, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1.

How about this one: Epanalepsis repeats the beginning word of a clause or sentence at the end. The beginning and the end are the two positions of strongest emphasis in a sentence, so by having the same word in both places, you call special attention to it like, “Her nose was huge, yes, people often remarked about the size of her nose.”

Scesis Onomaton is not the leader of a rogue robot empire but emphasizes an idea by expressing it in a string of generally synonymous phrases or statements.

Anaphora is the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences as in She read the book. She read the book until she fell asleep. She read the book and dreamed about it.
Then there is the ever popular Zeugma which includes several similar rhetorical devices, all involving a grammatically correct linking of two or more parts of speech by another part of speech. The main benefit of the linking is that it shows relationships between ideas and actions more clearly.

But, of all the literary or rhetorical devices out there the one I like best is Hyperbole. Without it, I would be nothing. Gross hyperbole is pretty much what drives my work. I love to take simple, ordinary things and stretch them out, exaggerate the truth, the details just enough so that fiction becomes slightly more interesting than truth. Bright's Pond is pretty much a great big exercise in hyperbole. Not that ilife there isn't accurate, it's just exaggerated.

How about you? What’s your favorite literary device?

1 comment:

Pam Halter said...

I haven't thought much about literary devices. Don't even know that much about them. But I've used some of the ones you mentioned without knowing what they were.

There is a really cool word in your Word Verification today. Zgingu. I'm going to tuck it away and use it in a future novel. :)