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Chiastic structure

Chiastic structure, or chiastic pattern, is a literary technique in narrative motifs and other textual passages. An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A and B, together with variants A' and B', being presented as A,B,B',A'. Alternative names include ring structure, because the opening and closing 'A' can be viewed as completing a circle, palistrophe, or symmetric structure. It may be regarded as chiasmus scaled up from clauses to larger units of text.

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Chiastic structure is not easy to perfect, but Alice Munro makes it seem so easy. Take a listen to her short story, "Axis"--one of the best examples of time-jumping in stories in this structural approach.

Contributed by Sammo Lea

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