Arthur Quinn Quote

The omission of an expected conjunction is called an asyndeton. Caesar is supposed to have said about Gaul: I came, I saw, I conquered. Lincoln concluded the Gettysburg Address, That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.Caesar seems to have omitted his conjunction to speed things up; he is emphasizing how quickly the conquest of a place follows from its being sighted by a great and ambitious general. Lincoln's omission is more subtle—or so it seems to me. Usually the items on a list are different but related things: eggs, butter, cheese. Sometimes they achieve a unity in which their distinctiveness is lost to all but the analytic mind, a good cheese omelet. Or perhaps we might even decide that they are but manifestations or expressions of the same thing. Lincoln would have us see these three aspects of government as constituting an inseparable whole. The asyndeton helps him do this.Of course, these two distinguishable usages of asyndeton are not mutually exclusive. Lincoln's asyndeton contributes to the striking brevity of his address. And the psychoanalytically subtle among us will point out that at some level seeing is organically connected with conquering (and many other things as well).
– Arthur Quinn