Repetition, Repetition, Repetition…

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In Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, translated by Roland Glasser, his writing devices are strategically weaved into the novel to create a more heightened experience of the reading. One device he integrates through his novel is repetition. For example, when Lucien was forced to lead the desperados to the merchandise, Mujila used repetition to enhance Lucien’s situation.

When Lucien showed them the way, the repetition of a Bible verse and “the dogs continued to chuckle” (132) is prominent; with another sentence or two also incorporated. As the structure goes on, the repetition becomes more simplified. Mujila uses repetition to build a rhythm to reflect the tension of the situation that Lucien is in. He is terrified for his life, and he is obviously tense from the danger that he is in. As the repetition of the pattern gets shorter and quicker, it mirrors how Lucien is feeling: his tension is becoming tighter and tighter as he fears what might happen next. The stress that he is in leads him to think quickly, and it corresponds with how the repetition gradually becomes less and less in length.

The quote “the dogs continued to chuckle” (132) is used to show how even the dogs knew what trouble Lucien was in, and by repeating it multiple times until it reaches an ellipses, emphasizes how in control the desperados were, and how helpless Lucien was.

The Bible verses that he recites are not all real, and I believe that Mujila did that to show how stressed Lucien was. He was in a tense and dangerous situation with no help whatsoever near him, and he just wanted to be out of it. By him saying nonexistent Bible verses, it shows how desperate he is to disappear. He is stating what he thinks might help him, and in his stressed and tense altercation, he was willing to try and say Bible verses that did not even exist in order to attempt and get some help from God. Mujila repeated more than one fake Bible verse to further push how scared Lucien really was.  


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