Polysyndeton is a stylistic device in which numerous coordinating conjunctions are used in succession with a purpose to reap an artistic effect. Polysyndeton examples are found in literature and in day-to-day conversations.
The time period polysyndeton comes from a Greek phrase meaning “certain together.” It makes use of coordinating conjunctions like and, or, but, and nor (in most cases and and or) which might be used to sign up for successive words, phrases, or clauses in such a manner that those conjunctions are even used wherein they might have been omitted. For example, within the sentence, “We have ships and guys and money and stores,” the coordinating conjunction “and” is used in short succession to enroll in words occurring together. In a normal situation, the coordinating conjunction “and” is used to sign up for the remaining two words of the listing, and the rest of the words within the list are separated or joined by a comma.
Polysyndeton vs. Asyndeton
Polysyndeton is opposite to some other stylistic tool acknowledged as “asyndeton.” In an asyndeton, the words in a listing are separated by commas, and no conjunctions are used to join the phrases in a listing. Thomas S. Kane describes the difference between the 2 devices, announcing that they are nothing greater than the strategies of handling an extended collection of words or lists.
Polysyndeton makes use of conjunctions after every word or term, at the same time as asyndeton makes use of no conjunctions however handiest commas. For example: “Jane’s days became a blur of meaningless events – wake up, brush teeth, make the coffee, get the mail, fix dinner, watch TV. It changed into difficult to preserve despair at bay.”
Examples of Polysyndeton in Literature
Example #1: The Holy Bible, Joshua 7:24 (By the Prophet Joshua)
“And Joshua, and all of Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had.”
This is amongst the satisfactory examples of polysyndeton located in classical or religious text. See how the conjunction “and” has been utilized in quick succession to enroll in all the objects given in this textual content.
Example #2: After the Storm (By Ernest Hemingway)
“I said, ‘Who killed him?’ and he said ‘I don’t recognise who killed him, however he’s dead all right,’ and it became darkish and there has been water standing in the road and no lighting or windows broke and boats all up in the city and trees blown down and the whole lot all blown and I were given a skiff and went out and observed my boat in which I had her inner Mango Key and he or she was right only she become complete of water.”
Hemingway has used “and” as a polysyndeton in this passage taken from “After the Storm.” Using this literary device, Hemmingway is capable of make his readers experience the tension that his individual is feeling.
Example #3: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (By Maya Angelou)
Maya Angelou, a popular female poet, is well known for her use of polysyndeton, that may seem immoderate at times. This is what she has written in her tale I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
“Let the whitefolks have their cash and power and segregation and sarcasm and massive houses and colleges and lawns like carpets, and books, and typically–frequently–let them have their whiteness.”
The continuity within the whole sentence is remarkable, and the rhythm is exhilarating.
Example #4: Dombey and Son (By Charles Dickens)
“There had been frowzy fields, and cow-homes, and dunghills, and dustheaps, and ditches, and gardens, and summer-homes, and carpet-beating grounds, at the very door of the Railway. Little tumuli of oyster shells within the oyster season, and of lobster shells in the lobster season, and of broken crockery and diminished cabbage leaves in all seasons, encroached upon its high places.”
Charles Dickens is also well-known for his use of polysyndeton, in addition to commas – often using both of these devices. You can see the outcomes on this passage taken from Dombey and Son.
Function of Polysyndeton
Polysyndeton performs numerous functions. Not best does it join words, phrases, and clauses, bringing continuity to a sentence, but it acts additionally as a stylistic device that brings rhythm to the textual content with the repetition of conjunctions in quick succession. It is likewise employed as a device to lay emphasis to the thoughts the conjunctions connect.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw