AB51.org

Anaphora

1. What is it?

Anaphora is the repeating of the same words or phrases at the beginning of clauses.

It appears in speeches, poetry, or prose in which style is important.

2. Why use it?

Add style and rhythm to make words memorable.Emphasise a point through repetition.

3. Examples

This era in which we live, this era in which we grow and mature, this era in which we die: it is the only era we will ever know.


You told us you wanted more jobs. We reduced unemployment by 3%. You told us you were tired of handing over your pay cheques to the taxman and governments to waste. We cut taxes across the board. You told us you wanted secure savings plans to ensure you were looked after in your old age. We introduced the government-backed pension in which we match your payments. And now you have voted to say you want us to continue doing what is best for the country. And we are listening. We are listening, and we will deliver.

4. Examples in literature

The Tyger 
by William Blake

Know Your Book

Title: The Tyger
Author: William Blake (1757-1827)
Published: 1794 (in Songs of Experience)
Language: English
Genre: Poetry; Romantic
Synopsis: The sister poem to The Lamb (in Songs of Innocence), The Tyger asks what type of god would create such a fierce animal as a tiger, with its sharp claws and cruel eyes. It also asks whether this god could be the same god that created the gentle lamb. Ultimately, and counter to the common ‘God is great’ belief, the poet considers it possible that God created good and evil.

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Skimming, Scanning and Basic Comprehension

1. Where does the tiger live?
2. Six body parts are listed in the poem. What are they?
3. What is the basic premise of the poem? 
Identifying Techniques

4. The poem uses several rhetorical questions. Underline them.
5. Imagery is used throughout the poem. What similarities are there in the images?
6. What rhyme structure is used in the poem?
7. What anaphora does Blake use in The Tyger? Highlight the examples. 
Text Analysis

8. Which words create an atmosphere of fear?
9. What do the tiger and the lamb symbolise?
10. The poem makes several references to ‘he’. Who is ‘he’?
11. One word is changed between the first stanza and the last one. What is the effect of changing this word? 
Provoking Opinion

12. Blake writes about the tiger in a fearful way, possibly linking it to evil. Is the tiger a good symbol for this? Can you think of a better symbol for fear and evil?
13. Do you believe in the notion of good and evil? Is there anything you would say is inherently good or inherently evil?
14. The line ‘Did he who made the Lamb make thee?’ raises a question about god and creation. Why do you think a god would create an animal such as a tiger?

The Flood
by J.M.G. Le Clézio

Know Your Book

Title: Le Déluge (*trans: The Flood)
Author: J.M.G. Le Clézio (1940- )
Published: 1966
Language: French
Genre: Fiction; novel; existential novel
Plot: Besson wanders through a city, contemplating the objects that surround people’s lives and the meaningless moments that people deem significant. As he goes, he engages in empty activities, such as starting a small fire. Utilising heavy descriptions (often running multiple pages, and referring to an object’s place in space, time, and broader existence), Besson’s wandering emphasises the narrow focus of individuals, in which meaning lies, and its insignificance in a cosmic sense.
Setting: A city
Characters: Francois Besson

Excerpt from untitled prologue (translated from French):

Far beyond the world of peace and quietness, far from that secret paradise where springs gush forth in undisturbed tranquility, a place of murmuring trees, where each light breeze and wasp moves as the fancy takes it; far from the rain drumming down steep roofs and into the gaping maw of the gutters; far beyond all these scarcely-formulated worlds, this flesh-coloured beauty, these innumerable swarming crevasses, these mouths for ever muttering their interminable stories, mingled with breath smelling of food and soda-water – far away and beyond all this there seems to be a weight binding your feet and hands, a weight that tears you away, all trembling and bloody, from any pleasure in life.

1. Which type of personality might the passage be describing?

a) Idealistic
b) Gung-ho
c) Naïve
d) Anhedonic
e) Worldly

Answer
d
2. Which of the following is not included in the description of life?

a) Sexual attraction
b) Disgust at other people
c) Seasonal rebirth
d) Natural beauty
e) Tranquility

Answer
c
3. The passage makes heavy use of

a) anaphora
b) metaphors
c) hyperbole
d) personification
e) onomatopoeia

Answer
a
4. The passage discusses a contrast between

a) love and disillusionment
b) the physical world and imagination
c) morality and sin
d) external stimuli and feeling
e) fear and safety

Answer
d
5. Both Blake’s The Tyger and the passage from Le Clezio’s The Flood discuss

a) good and evil
b) mental relations to the external world
c) the pursuit of happiness
d) the corruption of power
e) hubris

Answer
b

5. Tasks

Task 1: Create a line of anaphora that could appear in a political speech.
Task 2: Write a short poem or speech, or a paragraph, that uses anaphora.

Translate »