Is Repetition a Rhetorical Device?
If your question is how you can use parallelism in your writing, then you’re way ahead of the game!
Well, my game at least.
Some of you may not have heard this word since grade school and some maybe have forgotten it all together. To those people, I say #relatable, because learning about this tool a few weeks ago was like a EUREKA moment, to say the least. Then I remembered I had known all about it.
Like I do about a lot of things.
The good thing is, you’re probably already employing this rhetorical device in your writing like I am. And that’s good because this device can be pretty powerful!
The main way this tool is helpful is to get important ideas into the head of your reader through repetition. How does it do that?
Well, let’s just get into it already…
The Definition of Parallelism
Okay let’s get the gross definition out of the way:
“parallelism, in rhetoric, [is a component] of literary style in both prose and poetry, in which coordinate ideas are arranged in phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that balance one element with another of equal importance and similar wording.” - Encyclopedia Britannica
In normal, useful terms? You take “similar words, clauses, phrases, sentence structure, or other grammatical elements” and repeat it a few times. Got it? Are you sure??
You know, you’d probably get a better hang of it with some examples.
“I came, I saw, I conquered.”
“She baited her hook, tossed her line, and reeled her fish in.”
Martin Luther King’s speech:
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
What is the Effect of Parallelism ?
How can you use parallelism in your writing? Well, let’s talk about the point first. As we stated earlier, parallelism is perfect at solidifying an idea in your audience's head. Let’s face it, the mind is a powerful thing, but most people are Dum-Dums. Unless they hear the same thing three times, it’s probably not sticking too much.
And I say this with love, adoration, and humility for the common man. I am a common man. I am a common woman. I am a common human.
And all of that comes with complete SHITE for brains.
How do you identify Parallelism
Let’s look at the proper way to identify→
“A simple way to check for parallelism in your writing is to make sure you have paired nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, prepositional phrases with prepositional phrases, and so on. Underline each element in a sentence and check that the corresponding element uses the same grammatical form.”
This is probably one of the easiest rhetorical devices to identify. This makes it the coolest in my opinion because EASY IS RAD. Does the love of ease make me less of a boss lady? Probably. Do I care? Probably not.
How You Can Use Parallelism in Your Writing!
Okay, finally! How you can use parallelism is pretty simple. Have an idea and repeat it. Now, this idea could be central to your story’s theme or it could just be a thought necessary to that specific part of your book.
I’ll give you an example though. The theme of my book is the acceptance that you can’t change your past, but you can do better in the future. So parallelism for me might look something like:
“Colleen’s mind stretched at the idea that her past was unchangeable. There was nothing she could do. It was over. Done. Gone. And all she had left was a future. Her eyes lifted, her brow furrowed, and her mind reeled. A future, she thought. It was a burden at first. The weight sat on her chest, a reminder to overcome her past and everyone she’d hurt in the blink of an eye. Then she grasped it, held it close, and breathed it in. It was a future. A real future, and it was up to her.”
Thanks for Being Here and What’s Next
I just wanted to thank everyone who’s been reading the blog and following me on my social accounts. You guys are amazing and I’m so blessed to have you in my life.
Keep staying tuned because The Writing Gag might be undergoing a big change. The Lord’s been working on me and driving this blog in directions I didn’t see coming. I’m still praying and trying to figure out what’s the best way to proceed, but I want you to know that I’m excited about new content coming and I can’t wait to get more articles and quizzes out there!!
Aight, stay saucy!