What are some examples of polysyndeton?

1 Answer
Feb 2, 2017

Polysyndeton is using too many conjunctions for dramatic effect or emphasis.


I picked more famous examples from this website:

Let the whitefolks have their money and power and segregation and sarcasm and big houses and schools and lawns like carpets, and books, and mostly–mostly–let them have their whiteness.
(Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)

Here, Maya Angelou uses polysyndeton to emphasize all things associated with being white in order to comment on racial inequality. The polysyndeton also helps establish her indignant tone by creating a building up effect to highlight how much white people in America take advantage of African Americans.


If there be cords, or knives, Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, I'll not endure it.
(William Shakespeare, Othello)

I haven't read Othello yet, so no analysis here :D


Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance)

Emerson, one of the main followers of transcendentalism, parallels misunderstanding to many famous misunderstood people. He uses polysyndeton to underscore numerous examples of philosophic, religious, and scientific leaders that were greatly misunderstood, thus supporting that great people are misunderstood because their ideas are so novel and different.