We explain what a polysyndeton is and various examples, literary and everyday. Also, what is an asyndeton and other figures of speech.
The polysyndeton gives the phrase a feeling of intensity and insistence.
What is polysyndeton?
The polysyndeton is a Figure of speech which consists of adding links or conjunctions to a phrase (for example, an enumeration) that could normally do without them, in order to give a specific meaning to what was said. The name of this resource comes from the Greek cop ("Many"), sýn ("With") and deein ("To bind"), and constitutes the exact opposite of asyndeton.
Commonly, the use of the polysyndeton in literary language is intended to give what has been said a feeling of vertigo, speed or simultaneity, by suppressing the pauses normally added by commas, and instead continue with the sentence chain through links . In the common language it is much rarer, since it is not a particularly economical resource from a linguistic point of view.
For example, in the poem “A Roosevelt” by the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, we find the verses:
And dreams. And love, and vibrate; and she is the daughter of the Sun.
Be careful. Live Spanish America!
Let us observe how the first verse uses the nexus "and" so recurrently, giving the phrase a feeling of intensity and insistence, as if it wanted to emphasize each one of the enumerated terms. As if to say that for Spanish America it is not enough to dream, but rather too loves Y too vibrate and also She is the daughter of the sun (we just did the same, but repeating "and also").
Examples of polysyndeton
Other examples of the use of polysyndeton are the following:
- In this life you have to love and laugh and love again.
- And we crossed the river of fire. And we climbed the ice mountain. And we wait on top of the winds.
- I went to the grocery store and I couldn't get a tomato, a potato, an onion, or a cheese.
- And who am I going to cook and iron and serve hot tea with milk for in the afternoon when my little boy is gone?
- On the beach there were birds and dogs and crabs and ladies in bathing suits clutching their bellies.
The opposite figure to the polysyndeton is the asyndeton: the suppression of the links and conjunctions in a sentence that commonly carries them. This resource tends to give what is generally said a solemn and parsimonious cadence, that is, slower. Thus, certain sensations can be printed to what has been said, appealing purely to the comma, as in the following examples:
- A city of crazy, sick, drunkards.
- On the water floated the leaves, the water lilies, the plastic bags from the garbage.
- Dream, live, laugh! What else can one ask of life?
Other figures of speech
Apart from polysyndeton and asyndeton, there are other literary figures of interest, such as:
- Etopeia. It consists of the moral and / or customs description of a character, allowing the reader to know their interiority.
- Antithesis. It is about the use of two opposite and complementary terms, as part of the same expression.
- Synecdoche. It is a form of metaphor that takes a part of the thing for the whole thing, or vice versa.
- Oxymoron. It consists of the harmonic use in the same expression of two terms of opposite or irreconcilable meaning, in order to obtain an aesthetically powerful image, but contrary to logic.
- Pleonasm. The direct opposite of the oxymoron, consists of the repetitive or redundant use of two terms that have the same meaning, in order to emphasize or underline what has been said.