Parallelism: Figure of balance identified by a similarity in the syntactical structure of a set of words in successive phrases, clauses, sentences; successive words, phrases, clauses with the same or very similar grammatical structure. This figure often occurs public address with others such as antithesis, anaphora, asyndeton, climax, epistrophe and symploce.

 

 

Examples  

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

-- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

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"I've tried to offer leadership to the Democratic Party and the Nation. If, in my high moments, I have done some good, offered some service, shed some light, healed some wounds, rekindled some hope, or stirred someone from apathy and indifference, or in any way along the way helped somebody, then this campaign has not been in vain."

-- Jesse Jackson, 1984 Democratic National Convention Address

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"We have seen the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion.  We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers -- in English, Hebrew, and Arabic."

George W. Bush, 9-20-01 Address to the Nation on Terrorism

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"...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

-- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (here delivered by Jeff Daniels)

This parallelism is used in conjunction with epistrophe.

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"For the Ireland of 1963, one of the youngest of nations and the oldest of civilizations, has discovered that the achievement of nationhood is not an end but a beginning. In the years since independence, you have undergone a new and peaceful revolution, an economic and industrial revolution, transforming the face of this land while still holding to the old spiritual and cultural values. You have modernized your economy, harnessed your rivers, diversified your industry, liberalized your trade, electrified your farms, accelerated your rate of growth, and improved the living standards of your people."

-- John F. Kennedy, Address to the Irish Parliament

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"We have petitioned and our petitions have been scorned. We have entreated and our entreaties have been disregarded. We have begged and they have mocked when our calamity came. We beg no longer. We entreat no more. We petition no more. We defy them."

-- William Jennings Bryan

Note here that the first three sentences comprise the first parallelism used in conjunction with anaphora. The the next three sentences constitute a second parallelism also in conjunction with anaphora.

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American Rhetoric.
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