Repeat Stuff, repeat stuff, repeat stuff


If you want to get a point across, one of the best ways to do it is through constant repetition. Just take a look at Bo Burnham.

Here he takes the idea of repetition, and uses it to hammer home how pop culture songs need to repeat constantly to make the chorus more memorable. And surprisingly, he gets his point across in this satire by repeating, “repeat stuff” over and over.

However this isn’t the only way repetition can be used as a powerful tool . In the novel Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, repetition is one of the most compelling tools that Mujila uses to express his literary poetry. Right off the bat, in the beginning of the book the reader is introduced to the place known as Tram 83, and through some intense repetition, the reader is let know, the diversity and feel of the people that exist in this place.

“Inadvertent musicians and elderly prostitutes and prestidigitators and Pentecostal preachers and students resembling mechanics and doctors conducting diagnoses in nightclubs and young journalists already retired and transvestites and second-foot shoe peddlers and porn film fans and highwaymen and pimps and disbarred lawyers and casual laborers and former transsexuals and polka dancers and pirates of the high seas and seekers of political asylum and organized fraudsters and archaeologists and would-be bounty hunters and modern day adventurers and explorers searching for a lost civilization and human organ dealers . . .” Page 7

Keep in mind, that this quote goes on for another 170 words. It can already be seen how repetition, although tedious and some would say hard to read, can paint some pretty obvious mental images to readers.

But repetition can also be expressed in a different way. Take how in Tram 83, whenever any of the characters are in Tram 83, there are always prostitutes stating “Do you have the time?,” offering their services to them. At first, the characters told them to shove off. One of the characters, Requiem, even yelling back to “go check [their] papa’s watch!” (Page 8). However the further the reader gets, the insisting of the prostitutes never ends, to the point where it will blatantly interrupt the main characters talking with “Do you have the time?” or “I don’t like foreplay.” Through repetition, an invisible bond is formed with the reader and the characters. At first, the prostitutes are annoying and difficult to read with, since they are always interrupting the characters, yet at the end of the book neither the characters, nor the reader, pay any attention to them. Due to the incessant repetition, what is made to be annoying and ever-present in both the place of Tram 83 to the characters, and to the text of Tram 83 to the readers, they become dulled out and fade into the background.

These are just some clever ways repetition is used to prove a point. So remember, if you ever need to get a point across, you might want to try repeating yourself.




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