Could You Repeat That?

tripletsI’ve blogged before about the power of three (unless you’re The Simpsons) in both story and joke telling, where there is always a Frenchman, an Englishman and an Irishman (or whatever your local variant), but what about just plain repetition?  You know, where you say the same thing over and over and over again?  The example that most readily comes to mind is T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men: “this is the way the world ends, this is the way world ends, this is the way the world ends” and only then does he come to the bit about not with a bang but a whimper.  Another example is by Jack Kerouac in On the Road in his description of people who “burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”  Surely people only need to burn once and, as for the world ending, I heard you the first time.  But then again, spare writing is overrated, overrated, overrated because “burn like candles” is a bit bare.

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