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What are a few rhetorical devices that William Faulkner uses in his Nobel Prize...

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mgoun | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted July 3, 2012 at 3:09 AM via web

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What are a few rhetorical devices that William Faulkner uses in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech?

Such devices as

alliteration

parallelism

repetition

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:04 AM (Answer #1)

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When he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, William Faulkner, controversial, earthy, but always intrinsically truthful, was acknowledged by the literary world. His acceptance speech conveys his talent as well as his integrity as a writer.  Several rhetorical devices are employed by Faulkner in this speech among which are these few:

1. Alliteration - This literary device is effective in rhetoric as it lends a rhythm and speed to a line.  Interestingly, Faulkner opens his speech with a sentence with the /m/ sound repeated,

...this award was not made to me as a man,

In another example, Faulkner repeats /p/ in his final sentence:

... one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

2. Polysyndeton - This use of conjunctions between words or phrases or sentences elicits a feeling of energy and multiplicity that crescendos.

...by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.

3. Repetition - This popular rhetorical device is used for effect.  Repeating the noun man in referring to the author who writes not from the heart, but from the glands, Faulkner says that until he learns that he must write from his soul,

...he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure.

4. Chiasmus is a type of reverse parallelism, for it repeats a construction in the second part, but in a reverse order. e.g. "What is learned unwillingly is gladly forgotten."  In his speech, Faulkner says,

He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope....

5. Parallelism - The repetition of grammatical constructions lends a rhythm and unison to thoughts. In this example, Faulkner uses a simple independent clause and repeats it,

 He must learn them again. He must teach himself...

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