Parallel construction is a device which may be encountered not so much in the sentence as in the macro-structures dealt with earlier, viz. the SPU and the paragraph. The necessary condition in parallel construction is identical, or similar, syntactical structure in two or more sentences or parts of a sentence in close succession, as in:
"There were, ..., real silver spoons to stir the tea with, and real china cups to drink it out of, and plates of the same to hold the cakes and toast in." (Dickens)
Parallel constructions are often backed up by repetition of words (lexical repetition) and conjunctions and prepositions (polysyndeton). Pure parallel construction, however, does not depend on any other kind of repetition but the repetition of the syntactical design of the sentence. Parallel constructions may be partial or complete. Partial parallel arrangement is the repetition of some parts of successive sentences or clauses, as in:
"It is the mob that labour in your fields and serve in your houses—that man your navy and recruit your army,—that have enabled you to defy all the world, and can also defy you when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair." (Byron)
Parallel construction is most frequently used in enumeration, antithesis and in climax, thus consolidating the general effect achieved by these stylistic devices.
Parallel construction is used in different styles of writing with slightly different functions. When used in the matter-of-fact styles, it carries, in the main, the idea of semantic equality of the parts, as in scientific prose, where the logical principle of arranging ideas predominates. In the belles-lettres style parallel construction carries an emotive function. That is why it is mainly used as a technical means in building up other stylistic devices, thus securing their unity
In the following example parallelism backs up repetition, alliteration and antithesis, making the whole sentence almost epigrammatic. "And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe, And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot." (Shakespeare)
In the example below, parallel construction backs up the rhetorical address and rhetorical questions. The emotional aspect is also enforced by the interjection 'Heaven!'
"Hear me, my mother Earth! behold it, Heaven! — •
Have I not had to wrestle with my lot?
Have I not suffered things to be forgiven?
Have I not had my brain seared, my heart riven,
Hopes sapped, name blighted, Life's life lied away?'* (Byron)