The word "and" is repeated at the beginning of several different lines in the poem "To The Doctor Who Treated The Raped Baby And Who Felt Such Despair" by Finuala Dowling. How can we account for this repetition and why is it effective?

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When conjunctions are repeated for effect in prose or poetry, the writer is using the literary or stylistic device called polysyndeton.

In this poem, the word "and" is repeated at the beginning of eight different lines. In these lines, the repetition of "and" is linked to the actions the doctor takes to save the life of the brutalized infant. The repetition lends a certain rhythm to the reading of the lines. It highlights the laborious and tenacious efforts of the doctor to save the patient.

The stylistic device of polysyndeton is effective because it emphasizes emotion and effort in this poem. It draws our attention to the horrific crime against the defenseless infant and the unspeakable injuries it must have suffered at the hands of the perpetrator. Also, since the conjunction "and" is repeated at the beginning of the sentences in question, we can even say that the poet is using the stylistic device of anaphora. Again, as with both of these stylistic devices, authors and poets use them to evoke deep emotion in their audience and to emphasize specific points. In this poem, the poet wants to highlight the heinousness of the sexual crime.

The repetition of the word "and" is also effective because the poet links it to images of the aberrant and juxtaposes these against images of the mundane. This clever literary dissonance renders the image of the brutalized infant starker and more immediate to the reader. We are left horrified that such crimes can happen amid the normalcy of everyday life.

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