February 17, 2017

Assonance- Definition and Examples

Definition of Assonance

Assonance is the repetition of internal vowel sounds that have different ending consonants, in words that a grouped close together; this produces a half-rhyme. Assonance is often discussed with alliteration and consonance, because they all deal with the rhyming structure of a word or phrase; alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds, while consonance is the repetition of internal consonant rhyming. Assonance is used by writers, in order to add rhythm and musicality without having to rhyme their words.

What is the Purpose of Using Assonance in Poetry?

Assonance was adopted by some literary figures as a way to replace end rhyme; some of the most famous are:

Gerard Manley Hopkins
Wilfred Owen
W. H. Auden
Stephen Spender
Dylan Thomas

Assonance enables the writer to emphasis a word or series of words; it also slows down the pace of the poem, which allows the writer to create a specific mood. Assonance is a less obvious way to add rhyme than using end rhyme, which is often used in children's nursery rhymes, and poetry; thus, assonance tends to sound more fluid.

Examples of Assonance in Everyday Language

Fish and chips
Mad man
Go and mow the lawn!
An engineer held the wheel to steer the ship.
Go slow on the road when it rains.
Have fun chewing the gum.
Get rid of the gun and rug.
Mad Hatter

Examples of Assonance in Pop Culture

From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s address to the National Press Club on July 19, 1962

"The Law may not change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless."

From the rock band Thin Lizzy, "With Love"

I must confess that in my quest I felt depressed and restless

A song from My Fair Lady, "The Rain in Spain"

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!

Examples of Assonance in Poetry

From Do Not Go Gentle into the Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

From Byzantium by W. B. Yeats

Those images that yet
Fresh images beget,
That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea

From William Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o‘er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Examples of Assonance in Literature

From A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

"Soft language issued from their spitless lips as they swished in low circles round and round the field, winding hither and thither through the weeds, dragging their long tails amid the rattling canisters"

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"Assonance." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assonance

"Assonance." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Date published: July 20, 1998. 16 Feb. 2017. https://www.britannica.com/art/assonance

"With Love." Artist: Thin Lizzy. Lyrics found at Metro Lyrics. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. http://www.metrolyrics.com/with-love-lyrics-thin-lizzy.html

"The Rain in Spain." From My Fair Lady. Lyrics found at ST Lyrics. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. Written by: Alan Jay Lerner. Published in 1956. https://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/myfairlady/theraininspain.htmL

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