The Power of Repetition

Everyday dialogue is messy; it is loud and expressive. Showing the same thing in the dialogue of a novel is tricky. However, authors find ways to do so, one of which is by repetition. Repetition is the use of the same word(s) used multiple times in a row. It is usually used to express some type of emotion, like frustration, or to show the importance of what is being said. This is shown In Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik and translated by Chip Rossetti.

“A person could endure life without shelter. Without food. Without drink (perhaps for several days). Without clothes. Without a roof over his head. Without a sweetheart. Without dignity. Without a family (except Safiya). Without a refrigerator. Without a phone. Without a television. Without a tie. Without friends. Without shoes. Without trousers. Without phlogistine. Without a condom. Without headache medicine. Without a laser pointer. But he couldn’t endure life without dreams” (Towfik 52).

Gaber, an Other, is expressing how he survives his world. He uses repetition to show that a person may survive without things that people deem necessary to live life with. His repetitive use of the word without really drives home that he does not have a lot, if anything at all. It also makes the last sentence “But he couldn’t endure life without dreams” (Towfik 52), stand out that much more. It adds emphasis to this, by showing that Gaber can live without everything else but dreams. It also shows his acceptance of his situation, how he has come to terms with it and is just at the point of explaining. Additionally, I believe the author is showing how important this is. People are now at a time where the physical items we need to survive today are not available to these people.



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