The Wednesday Wars

by Gary Schmidt

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What are examples of literary devices in the chapter "June" of Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars?  

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Parallelism is one literary device frequently used by author Gary Schmidt in the chapter titled "June" of The Wednesday Wars, and Schmidt uses a couple of different forms of parallelism.

Parallelism is created when a writer deliberately builds patterns in grammar and syntax; parallelism can be used to create emphasis and drama. There are many different varieties of parallelism. One variety is referred to as anapodoton; anapodoton is created when a writer deliberately constructs sentence fragments, especially a pattern of sentence fragments. We find anapodoton within the first few pages of the chapter "June" when Holling relays what the news reported about Lieutenant Baker's disappearance and rescue:

It was in all the papers. Even Walter Cronkite talked about it on the 6:30 news. How Lieutenant Baker's helicopter was shot down. How he jumped out before the helicopter hit the ground and shattered. How his leg was caught by one of the broken blades. ("June")

In this passage, each sentence beginning with the word how is actually a subordinate clause and, therefore, a sentence fragment that serves as an excellent example of anapodoton. Author Schmidt carries his anapodoton through to the end of the entire paragraph in order to emphasize the dramatic and miraculous story of Lieutenant Baker's survival and rescue.

A second form of parallelism is called anaphora, which is created when a writer deliberately repeats words and phrases at the start of sentences. The exact same passage above also contains anaphora because each sentence fragment begins with the word how. Looking further into the paragraph, we see anaphora being created with the phrase "How he":

... How he followed a river until he couldn't go any further. How he was found by a woman who already had two sons killed and didn't want anyone else to die, so she took him back to her house. ("June")

The anaphora continues until the second-to-last sentence of the paragraph and is again used to dramatize Lieutenant Baker's miraculous story.

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