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Polysyndeton. The placement of many conjunctions(and, or, but, nor, yet) between words or clauses. . Why use Polysyndeton ?. Polysyndeton is good to use when emphasizing a point. The series of conjunctions helps to show how the clauses or words relate to each other, and also creates rhythm.

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polysyndeton

Polysyndeton

The placement of many conjunctions(and, or, but, nor, yet) between words or clauses.

why use polysyndeton
Why use Polysyndeton?
  • Polysyndeton is good to use when emphasizing a point. The series of conjunctions helps to show how the clauses or words relate to each other, and also creates rhythm.
examples of polysydeton
Examples of Polysydeton
  • “Me toward the Mexican Sea, orin the Mannahatta, orthe Tennessee, orfar north, orinland,A river man, ora man of the woods,or of any farm-life in These States, orof the coast, orthe lakes, orKanada…” --Me Imperturbeby Walt Whitman
  • “Uncle Jim gobbled candy and pizza and ice cream and donuts and muffins that night!”

– To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

your turn
Your Turn!

Are these examples of Polysyndeton?

  • He ran and jumped and laughed for joy.
  • Sam tried eating the vegetable, but did not like its taste nor flavor.
  • Nor wind, nor rain, nor snow could stop her from jogging her daily routine.
how might this show up on the ap exam
How might this show up on the AP Exam?
  • Given a passage, they might as a question like this:
  • “In an hour unlooked for by Men this doom befell, on the nine and thirtieth day since the passing of the fleets. Then suddenly fire burst from the Meneltarma, and there came a mighty wind and a tumult of the earth, and the sky reeled, and the hills slid, and Númenor went down into the sea, with all its children and its wives and its maidens and its ladies proud; and all its gardens and its halls and its towers, its tombs and its riches, and its jewels and its webs and its things painted and carven, and its laughter and its mirth and its music, its wisdom and its lore; they vanished forever. (Tolkien 335)” -- The Silmarillion

The use of polysyndeton in sentence 2

(A) Separates ideas by the use of conjunctions

(B) Creates emphasis on the tone of chaos and mystery

(C) Symbolizes the troubles faced by the Men

(D) Elongates the sentence into a complex sentence

(E) Combines short sentences to help with the flow

and the answer is
And the Answer is…
  • The correct answer is B.
  • Answer A is wrong because polysyndeton combines ideas, not separate.
  • Answer C is incorrect, because there are many symbols within this passage, not one symbol as a whole.
  • Answers D and E go with one another, and is probable that the polysyndeton was not intended to make the sentence look longer.
another example the essay
Another Example: the Essay
  • Using the same passage, the AP exam could ask a prompt like this:
  • In this excerpt of The Silmarillion, the doom of vanishing is described vividly by Tolkien. Read the passage closely, and in a well-organized essay, describe how polysyndeton contributes to the tone of the passage.
slide8

The prompt is asking how polysyndeton helps convey a certain tone of the passage. First, determine where the polysyndeton in the passage is, and then identify a tone.

  • Remember that polysyndetons are used for emphasis of ideas, and the combining of theses elements through conjunctions.
  • Now, think of a thesis sentence that addresses all aspects of the prompt.
sample thesis sentence
Sample Thesis Sentence
  • In the description of the dreadful doom, Tolkien effectively paints a picture of chaos and torment through the use of polysyndeton, emphasizing an overall tone of aggressiveness and uneasiness.
natural order of a sentence
Natural Order of a Sentence
  • This is when a subject is in the beginning of a sentence, followed by a verb, or predicate.
examples
Examples
  • Sam went to the market today.

Sam is the subject, Went is the verb.

  • Michelle likes the color blue.

Michelle is the subject, likes is the verb.

  • The store opens at 7:00.

Store is the subject, Opens is the verb.

Notice that the verb comes AFTER the subject, which is the natural order of a sentence.

your turn1
Your Turn!

Identify the subject and verb in each sentence, and whether or not if follows the natural order of a sentence.

  • The white dog played on the porch.
  • Running from the cops was exciting!
  • In Frankenstein, the monster felt alienated.
quiz time
Quiz Time!
  • And through the drifts the snowy cliftsDid send a dismal sheen :Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken--The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,The ice was all around :It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,Like noises in a swound !

At length did cross an Albatross,Thorough the fog it came ;As if it had been a Christian soul,We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,And round and round it flew.The ice did split with a thunder-fit ;The helmsman steered us through !

The highlighted line is an example of

(A) Hyperbole

(B) Paradox

(C) Polysyndeton

(D) Monosyndeton

(E) Oxymoron

The subject of the highlighted line is

(A) and

(B) growled

(C) roared

(D) It

(E) howled

-- Excerpt of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part I

slide14

And through the drifts the snowy cliftsDid send a dismal sheen :Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken--The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,The ice was all around :It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,Thorough the fog it came ;As if it had been a Christian soul,We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,And round and round it flew.The ice did split with a thunder-fit ;The helmsman steered us through !

3. The subject “It” (line7) refers to

(A) beasts

(B) shapes

(C) Ice

(D) clifts

(E) cracked

Which sentence resembles the natural order of a sentence?

I. Line 3

II. Line 8

III. Line 12

(A) I only.

(B) II only.

(C) III only.

(D) I and II only.

(E) I, II, and III only.

-- Excerpt of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part I

slide15

And through the drifts the snowy cliftsDid send a dismal sheen :Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken--The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,The ice was all around :It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,Like noises in a swound !

At length did cross an Albatross,Thorough the fog it came ;As if it had been a Christian soul,We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,And round and round it flew.The ice did split with a thunder-fit ;The helmsman steered us through !

5. The polysyndeton in line 7 creates a tone of

(A) happiness

(B) sympathy

(C) benevolence

(D) candid

(E) aggressiveness

6. In line 16, the verb following the subject is

(A) steered

(B) us

(C) helmsman

(D) The

(E) through

-- Excerpt of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part I

sources
Sources
  • http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/Tolkien_polysyndeton.html
  • http://literaryzone.com/?p=241
  • http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/english_lit/samp.html?englit
  • http://etext.virginia.edu/stc/Coleridge/poems/Rime_Ancient_Mariner.html
  • http://mrbraiman.home.att.net/lit.htm