Parataxis and Hypotaxis | Writerly Life
Parataxis usually involves simple sentences or phrases whose relationships to . Hypotaxis is when the elements of a sentence are not all equal, and clauses. Parataxis is a literary technique, in writing or speaking, that favors short, simple sentences, with the use of coordinating rather than subordinating conjunctions. It contrasts with syntaxis and hypotaxis. However, the connection of thought in the first examples is just as real as in the last ones, where it is explicitly expressed. In a nutshell, hypotaxis is characterized as a relationship between clauses, an sense, hypotactic relation resembles paratactic relation between clauses.
They are one of the most important ways readers get a feel for your writing and get clues about your mood, tone, and seriousness. So to begin, parataxis is when all of your sentences carry the same weight. They usually have very few clauses, and more importantly, none of the clauses are subordinated to one another. We use subordinated clauses to indicate what the most important part of a sentence is the most important part is in the independent clauseso when there is no subordinate part, it makes every part of the sentence seem equally important.
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The effect is flat, declarative, and often somewhat bleak-sounding. Hemingway made this style famous. Here is an example of parataxis: There were no rooms at the inn.
We drove farther until we found a hotel. It was raining heavily and we got soaked on the way to the door. Our socks stank of mildew. We ate dinner there and talked little. As you can see in that example, the tone feels flat but also spare and uncompromised. Hemingway draws the reader into a deeper world through parataxis. Parataxis in Samuel Beckett's Malone Dies Samuel Beckett is known for his clipped and abrupt language that often forces the reader to interpret its meaning. In other words, he's a frequent user of parataxis: I must have tried.
It is not the word. Neither is it live.
Parataxis and Hypotaxis
Because parataxis is naturally additive, it feels as if we are in the mind of this character, experiencing one thought, then another, and another, as the character tries to find the correct words and make sense of his life.
Nothing more is happening than a man finishing breakfast. However, McCarthy breaks down this action into all of its components, which, in turn, puts focus on each act of the meal—both that the woman performed in making it and that the man undertook in eating it.
Because of parataxis, the meal becomes something the reader can't just take for granted, but rather something that must be considered in full. Parataxis in Charles Dickens's Bleak House In this example from Charles Dickens's Bleak House, there is parataxis between each of the sentences, and within the final sentence. Horses, scarecely better—splashed to their very blinkers.
Foot passengers, jostling one another's umbrellas, in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foothold at street corners As a result, the passage captures the chaos and bustle of the street, the people, the dogs, and the horses.
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Through parataxis, the reader is made to experience this riotous scene just as a person on the street would. Parataxis in Poetry Parataxis takes on a slightly different meaning when it's used in poetry; in the context of poetry, parataxis refers to two starkly dissimilar objects or ideas being placed beside each other.
So this definition maintains the sense of independent entities being placed side-by-side, but it adds the condition that these entities must be different. The juxtaposition between these entities then causes readers to make their own associations and interpretations. Parataxis in Chika Sagawa's "Rusty Knife" The first two lines in Chika Sagawa's poem ask the reader to find commonality between two disparate images: Hazy blue dusk scales the window.
A lamp dangles like the neck of a woman. Parataxis in Advertising Slogans Advertising slogans often employ parataxis. The rhythm of parataxis makes the phrase memorable, which advertisers want for their slogans. The taste of real coffee.
Maybe she's born with it. Melts in your mouth. Not in your hands. In addition, because parataxis doesn't offer an interpretation itself, it invites the audience to "fill in the gaps" where language does not exist. Simply by reading a slogan that uses parataxis, the audience becomes an active participant in the slogan's meaning; it's the readers own interpretation, for example, that explains what makes Marines proud and unique. Why Do Writers Use Parataxis? There are may reasons why writers might use parataxis.
A few common reasons include: To add mystery to a text. Parataxis, which does not provide signals as to how different elements relate to one another, asks the reader to interpret why these elements were included in the way that they were. For simple, straightforward writing. Writing that relies on parataxis tends to be described with terms like "unvarnished" or "straightforward," so parataxis is often a feature of minimal writing styles or dialogue from characters who speak simply.
To trim the fat. Parataxis can help writers avoid wordy or redundant descriptions and exposition, which can add excitement and make a narrative move faster. To create a choppy, staccato rhythm. Parataxis often involves sentences or clauses that are short and simple, and for that reason it breaks the writing into choppy, rhythmic segments.
To thrust a reader directly into an experience. The piling up of details that is characteristic of parataxis can be overwhelming. This forces a reader to try to sort through the onslaught of description, just as someone actually experiencing a chaotic or overwhelming situation would have to sort through what they were seeing or feeling. To emphasize each of the details or components of a larger process or list. Parataxis—particularly syndetic parataxis—can create a pause before each element of a list, which forces the reader to linger.
Conversely, sometimes parataxis can be meant to exhaust the reader by emphasizing the length of a list, rather than each individual element. To invite readers to make their own meaning. Because parataxis does not clearly or overtly show how things are connected, it naturally leaves interpretation up to the reader. This can be particularly effective when a flat, declarative description leaves a reader to interpret the feelings or motivations that are left unsaid.
To create a sense of objectivity. Stripped-down or straightforward writing, which often uses parataxis, can make a reader trust the author, because they feel as if they are getting a clear picture of what happened without being told how they should feel about it.
Parataxis and Hypotaxis
Other Helpful Parataxis Resources Check out these resources on other sites for even more information about parataxis. The Wikipedia Page on Parataxis: Brief in its description, but it does offer a couple of good examples. The Dictionary Definition of Parataxis: A basic definition that includes a bit on the etymology of parataxis.
A blog post that focuses on the grammatical details behind parataxis and its opposite, hypotaxis. The post is somewhat technical, but also clear and comprehensive.