An Exercise in Syntactic Repetition

February 10, 2010 at 10:34 am 1 comment

O.K. — I didn’t really enjoy this exercise, and have some sense of wondering if I’m doing it ‘right’.  Maybe I chose the wrong text to experiment with — I’m rewriting a story for telling and decided to do this exercise with that story — The Golden Dragon. Maybe I should have started with something new and original. But this is  an adventure in story and writing, yes? So here it is….

: Steering the Craft, Exercise Four – Part 2: Syntactic Repetition
Write a paragraph to a page of narrative (200-400 words) in which you deliberately repeat the syntactical construction, or the exact rhythm, of a phrase or sentence (or more than one) several times.

Long ago in China there was a young boy named Chen. It was his job to take care of his mother, Kuan Yin. (rhythm) The growing season had been too hot and too dry. The earth was hard and cracked and nothing could grow in the vegetable garden behind their house. Stomachs growling, Chen and Kuan Yin were hungry most of the time. Worry growing, Chen knew he needed to go out into the world to look for a job. (syntactical construction repeated)

One day, Chen woke before Kuan Yin and went to the marketplace in the center of the village. Hours later, he arrived back at his house and woke his mother. (syntactical construction repeated)
“I am going away today and I will not be back until I have earned enough money to feed us both. Don’t be angry with me but this morning I went to the market in our village and sold my kite. (syntactical construction repeated) I have used that money to buy rice and vegetables so that you can eat until I return.”
Kuan Yin had tears in her eyes. “Chen, no. You are too young. Not your kite, not your only toy.”
Chen pushed his shoulders back and thrust his chin out as he looked at his mother. “I want to take care of you.”
Chen soon left. But times were hard. No jobs for boys. (rhythm)


Entry filed under: Steering the Craft_Writing Exercises.

An Exercise in Verbal Repetition An Exercise in Structural Repetition

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sophiia  |  March 6, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Hi Sue. Thank you for this beautiful, simple and straightforward blog. I am doing an assignment and have been struggling with the concept of syntactic repetition and everything was beginning to blur into one confusing mess. Until now!
    Thanks again!


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