Repetition, Repetition

Published October 2, 2012 by Elsa Pla

Last week’s exercise was to search for powerful examples of repetition.

Here are a few examples from chapters 1-3 of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

Somewhere not so far back, vast lightnings stomped the earth. Somewhere, a storm like a great beast with terrible teeth could not be denied.”

So much Will said, excitedly. So much Jim agreed to, silently. So much the salesman, running before the storm, but poised here uncertainly, heard looking from face to face.”

Some folks draw lightning, suck it like cats suck babies’ breath. Some folks’ polarities are negative, some positive. Some glow in the dark. Some snuff out.”

Nobody won. Nobody wanted to win. It was in their friendship they just wanted to run forever, shadow and shadow. Their hands slapped library door handles together, their chests broke track tapes together, …”

“Dad winked at Will. Will winked back. They stood now, a boy with acorn-colored hair and a man with moon-white hair, a boy with a summer apple, a man with a winter-apple face. Dad, Dad, thought Will, why, why, he looks … like me in a smashed mirror!”

I love this next one. Try reading it aloud. It’s brilliant.

“What’s the answer, he wondered, walking through the library, putting out the lights, putting out the lights, putting out the lights, is it all in the whorls on our thumbs and fingers? Why are some people all grasshopper fiddlings, scrapings, all antennae shivering, one big ganglion eternally knotting, slip-knotting, square-knotting themselves?”

And here’s an example of repetition in my work:

Artie braced himself as he joined the streams of students entering the building on the first day of the school year. He peeked at the crowd from under his gray hoodie. Everyone was wearing their mask, as usual, except that today the personas were brighter and clearer than on any regular school day. Jock, cheerleader, goth, punk, homie, geek, nerd, dork, emo, bully, etc. Whatever mask you or someone else had decided best reflected your unique style or personality. Whatever best suited your agenda. First impressions could make or break you. The pecking order had to be established early on. It was Survival of the Fittest 101 at the Funny Farm. Peck, peck, peck.

Those were some of the thoughts running through Artie’s mind as he weaved his way through the crowd. What mask was he wearing? Misfit, for sure. And like any other misfit, he preferred to fly under the radar, but sometimes circumstances interfered with his cruise control. His looks didn’t help either. He was tall and gangly with freckled pale skin and bright orange hair. Too tall and too orange to be inconspicuous. He was also too serious for his age, too young for his grade, too clumsy for sports, too shy around girls, and too smart for his own good. Too many toos, which is why he was what he was: a misfit.

Whatever, he thought.

That was fun.

This week’s exercise is to analyze the rhetorical devices and the sentence fluency in a notable picture book. 🙂

I’ll post again next week.

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