Polysyndeton is the use of several conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted (as in "he ran and jumped and laughed for joy"). It is a stylistic scheme used to achieve a variety of effects: it can increase the rhythm of prose, speed or slow its pace, convey solemnity or even ecstasy and childlike exuberance. Another common use of polysyndeton is to create a sense of being overwhelmed, or in fact directly overwhelm the audience by using conjunctions, rather than commas, leaving little room for a reader to breathe.
King James Bible 
Polysyndeton is used extensively in the King James Version of the Bible. For example:
- And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. Genesis 7:22-24
- Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcass of an unclean beast, or a carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. Leviticus 5:2.
- And Joshua, and all of Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had. Joshua 7.24.
Modern usage 
Writers of modern times have also used the scheme:
- "I said, 'Who killed him?' and he said 'I don't know who killed him, but he's dead all right,' and it was dark and there was water standing in the street and no lights or windows broke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and everything all blown and I got a skiff and went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Key and she was right only she was full of water." Ernest Hemingway, After the Storm
- "[The train] came boring out of the east like some ribald satellite of the coming sun howling and bellowing in the distance and the long light of the headlamp running though the tangled mesquite brakes and creating out of the night the endless fenceline down the dead straight right of way and sucking it back again wire and post mile on mile into the darkness after where the boilersmoke disbanded slowly along the faint new horizon and the sound came lagging and he stood still holding his hat in his hands in the passing ground shudder watching it till it was gone." Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
- "Tender as my years may be," said Caspian, "I believe I understand the slave trade from within quite as well as your Sufficiency. And I do not see that it brings into the islands meat or bread or beer or wine or timber or cabbages or books or instruments of music or horses or armour or anything else worth having." C. S. Lewis, "The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader'" (Book 5 in The Chronicles of Narnia)
- The "premium support" idea [U.S. House of Representatives member Paul] Ryan touts might be defensible *if* it were part of an effort to insure everybody; *if* we could enact stringent regulations to prevent insurance companies from gaming the system; *if* the government provided subsidies large enough to make insurance affordable, and *if* there were a public option as an alternative to private insurance. That's a lot of ifs. [E. J. Dionne column, distributed by the Washington Post Writers Group, June 5, 2011]
Polysyndeton in film 
- "And the Germans will not be able to help themselves from imagining the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the Germans will be sickened by us. And the Germans will talk about us. And the Germans will fear us. And when the Germans close their eyes at night, and their subconscious tortures them for the evil they’ve done, it will be with thoughts of us that it tortures them with." Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), Inglourious Basterds
- "But all you have to do is knock on any door and say, 'If you let me in, I'll live the way you want me to live, and I'll think the way you want me to think,' and all the blinds'll go up and all the windows will open, and you'll never be lonely, ever again." Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy), Inherit the Wind
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