Literary Analysis Terminology


repetition of a word or words at the beginning of multiple phrases, clauses, or lines

Why use anaphora?

Using anaphora makes one's writing very rhythmic. With the repetition of the same word, any emotion is intensified and the work becomes memorable as the repeating word or words stand out in the reader's mind.

The Big Lebowski

"I don't like you sucking around, bothering our citizens, Lebowski. I don't like your jerk-off name. I don't like your jerk-off face. I don't like your jerk-off behavior, and I don't like you, jerk-off."

From this example, we can see how the police officer speaking to Lebowski clearly doesn't like him. This emotion is intensified by the use of anaphora by repeating "I don't like".

Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking by Walt Whitman

"Out of the cradle of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight..."

In this example from literature, you can see how Walt Whitman repeated the words "out of the" at the beginning of these three lines.

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

"Because the land was mined and booby-trapped, it was SOP for each man to carry a steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket, which weighed 6.7 pounds, but which on hot days seemed much heavier. Because you could die so quickly, each man carried at least one large compress bandage, usually in the helmet band for easy access. Because the nights were cold, and because the monsoons were wet, each carried a green plastic poncho that could be used as a raincoat or groundsheet or makeshift tent."

The excerpt above is an example of anaphora from the Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" that we read in class this year. The bold word "because" appears at the beginning of multiple sentences showing the necessity of all of the things the soldiers carried.

Caitlin Connelly