1. Masked Mole

    Masked Mole Senior Member

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    What are your favorite repeating phrases in literature?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Masked Mole, Apr 7, 2017.

    Often, authors will repeat a general phrase throughout a work. It can be for emphasis, rhythmic effect, etc.
    Here are a few of my favorites:
    Some version of "Are you ready to get it on?" or "We're getting it on now." --Rage by Richard Bachman
    "All is vanity." --Ecclesiastes
    "Was ever grief like mine?" --"The Sacrifice" by George Herbert
    What about you guys?
     
  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I like Tennessee Williams's screenplays they have a lot of repeating phrases or ideas running through them. Though I'd have to say Babydoll is my favorite with -
    Tat for Tit, Tit for Tat - the good neighbor policy - being used for arson and cuckoldry. lol.
    The Bible has a lot of gems, hard to pick one. Maybe ... Fear not - because it's so potent and clear.
     
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "...plans within plans within plans..."

    ~ Frank Herbert, DUNE


    (The film version makes use of the phrase only once and by a character who never actually says it in the book)
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Maybe "and so it goes" from Slaughterhouse Five? Not sure it's a favourite, exactly, but it certainly sprang to mind, so I guess it's had an effect on my psyche...
     
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  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Sticking with the Vonnegut theme how about "Um" from Sirens of Titan? I think Vonnegut describes how the character began saying it more and more, and then later in the book there's an entire conversation where he only responds with "Um" no matter what anyone else says. The other characters continue the conversation as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
     
  6. GoreQuill NachoVidal

    GoreQuill NachoVidal Banned

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    Disapear here - bret easton ellis
     
  7. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber <[:>)-|---< Contributor

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    I don't know if Star Wars counts, but I like "I've got a bad feeling about this."
     
  8. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    "Agenbite of inwit." James Joyce used it several times in Ulysses.
     
  9. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber <[:>)-|---< Contributor

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    I hate to pry, but did you actually read Ulysses?
     
  10. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. About thirty years ago. Every so often I open it more or less at random just to get a flavor of Joyce's language. I'd like to reread it, but that would be a serious project.

    Joyce was the first writer I ever read who made me love language. After reading Ulysses, I realized that language itself - style, voice - was a sufficient reason to write. I didn't need plot or even character (though characters just kinda happen to me) if I had a good sense of language. Prose is art enough.
     
  11. dragonflare137

    dragonflare137 Member

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    Might be a bit generic, but I can't help but love it.

    "Quoth the Raven 'Nevermore'."
     
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  12. BillyJBarter

    BillyJBarter New Member

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    I adore the 'I am Jack's broken heart etc...' from fight club, it was the use of that in the film that made me want to read his work.
     
  13. Stephen1974

    Stephen1974 Member

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    Reacher said nothing.
     
  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    "Damn it." Alt Damn it.
     
  15. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    The Bible does have plenty beautiful emphasized phrases. Also, in The Pilgrim's Progress it's Then I saw in my dream...

    There's another line that says "A Christian man is never long at ease.." But it's not repeated. I just love its truth.
     
  16. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is a thing willed there where what is willed can be accomplished.
    - Dante, The Divine Comedy (depending on the translation)
     

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