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What is the technical term for the repetition of an element in both the beginning and...

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khenson | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 14, 2010 at 5:48 AM via web

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What is the technical term for the repetition of an element in both the beginning and end of a novel?  (I have "full circle" and "palindromatic")  

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 14, 2010 at 6:09 AM (Answer #1)

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I always teach this as "framing," "frame story," or a "framing device."

Aha!  I found it.  Enotes agrees:

Framing device, a narrative tool in which the setting of a story or another element is repeated at the beginning and end of a story...The term framing device refers to the usage of the same single action, scene, event, setting, or any element of significance at both the beginning and end of an artistic, musical, or literary work. The repeated element thus creates a ‘frame’ within which the main body of work can develop.

About the others:

  • I like "palindromatic," but it's hard to say, and it can't really be read backwards for the same effect, can it?  The term you're going for must suggest a sense of the linear (start and then finish), right?
  • "Full circle" is a lay term, not worthy of induction in the hallowed walls of literary devices.

Example: "Frankenstein uses the framing imagery of ice to contrast the creation of the Monster by fire."  Make sense?

Good luck!

 

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