There are millions of poems where one can find similar-sounding words and phrases. It carries similar-sounding words with different meanings. No, we are not talking about homophones but assonance that sounds similar and has similar-sounding vowels with different-sounding consonants or vowels following it or vice versa. Have you ever heard of tongue twisters? Betty bought some butter, but it was bitter. It is not an assonance, but it can closely relate to the essence of assonance, where each word sounds as “e” and “o”.
According to Collins Dictionary, if we define assonance, it concludes that it is ” the use of the same vowel sound with different consonants or the same consonant with different vowels in successive words or stressed syllables, as in a line of verse.” In simple words, it is not a rhyme, and it is not a homophone, but instead, it provides a similar sounding rhythm to some context, making it a verse or a lyric.
Importance Of Assonance
Earlier, when the paper did not exist, it was the trick of storytellers and narrators to use similar-sounding words to make rhythm when they were reciting so that the poem was pleasant to listen to and easily be remembered. Stage shows, poems and stories were recited with harp and lyre. These musical instruments were used to create melodies so that people could enjoy them. Harp and lyre produced high pitch sounds, which were extremely melodious to how vowel sounds were pronounced in words, making it catchy. The narrators and the poets started experimenting with words that carried vowel sounds to make the song more melodious. Hence, the assonance was born without a name until it got recognised in the 19th mid century. Later, it revolutionized similar surrounding consonants too.
Assonance can be mainly found in something recitable or something with the intention to recite, such as poems and stage works to grab the audience’s attention and spread the message. It can be popularly seen in modern-day literature to make the contexts more interesting. The overall intention of assonance is to make the poem or the phrase more recitable, attention-grabbing, and melodious in the same flow as the words are going by making a rhythm instead of rhyme.
Examples of Assonance
Assonance is similar sounding words that have vowel sounds followed by consonants or vowels. Let us in this section look out for some famous examples we can find in the books of literature.
Here are some splendid and most known assonance example in poems.
- “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” – My Fair Lady, a musical by Lerner and Loewe.
- “Do you like blue?” – “I do not like green eggs and ham” by Dr. Seuss
- “He’s a bruiser, he’s a boozer, he’s a loser” – “The Piano Man” by Billy Joel.
- “The crumbling thunder of seas” – “Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
- “The spider skins lie on their sides, translucent and ragged, their legs drying in knots” – “Spider Skins” by Jorie Graham.
Let’s look out for one of the most famous assonance example in literature.
- “In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud” – “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” – Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
- “Hear the mellow wedding bells” – “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe
- “The moon rose over the bay, its silver light sparkling on the waves” – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- “Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though” – “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
If you love songs then you might not be surprised that songs written by popular music writers and script writers contain assonance. Let’s look out for some examples.
- “I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life” – “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People
- “You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life” – “Dancing Queen” by ABBA
- “There’s a fire starting in my heart, reaching a fever pitch and it’s bringing me out the dark” – “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
- “Cause, baby, you’re a firework, come on show ’em what you’re worth” – “Firework” by Katy Perry
- “I’m holding on your rope, got me ten feet off the ground” – “Payphone” by Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa
Effect of Assonance
As of now, we have got plenty of examples to look out for and understand what assonance is and how it differentiates from different literary devices used in poetry and literature.
Assonance is a writing technique that helps poets and narrators to put an impact on the audience with similar-sounding words and evoke emotions while they recite or act. The concept of assonance is very old, and with time, the use of assonance has evolved quite a bit. The effects of assonance make the story or poem much more interesting, even if there are no props or acts. In the 1990s, book reading, talk shows, or radio podcasts specifically used these techniques to attract people. Even nowadays, songs are popularly written using these techniques to make them more catchy and melodic.
Let us look for the effect of assonance in different kinds of poetry, songs, and literature.
The effect of assonance in poetry
The effect of assonance in poetry is very significant, and it creates a musical note and evokes a person’s emotion by focusing on the same sounding words. Melodies depend on assonance if someone is going to create poetry with similar surroundings, especially for kids. Rhyming words do not work every time; hence assonance helps people have the same effect by focusing on the same sounding voice, making it more interesting. Also, produce a sense of Unity as all the words or the closure in the phase sound similar.
For example, the repetition of the O sound in The Lady of Shalott, written by lord Alfred Tennyson, creates the sound of mystery and wonder.
The effect of assonance in prose
The prose always has less use of assonance for longer paragraphs, but it is frequently used in modern day epics and hymns. It was often used as a sign of symbolism in earlier times, and people in novels use assonance for a memorable line or something that people need to focus on. Assonance also helps people look out for smaller details in bigger parts of narration and recitation so that they don’t miss anything, making the contexts as a whole interesting to listen to. Assonance also helps people to imagine better with easy understanding and a vivid and interesting tone.
For example, The Old Man And The Sea has the repetition of the “e” sound by Earnest Hemingway.
The emotional impact of assonance
Assonance is made for putting focus and evoking emotions with similar-sounding words and vowels in it. Different kinds of sentences with similar-sounding words can create different kinds of emotions. Collectively it spreads the emotion of unity and coherence by connecting all the phrases together to create one masterpiece. It can maintain the tone throughout and make it easier to understand. Similar-sounding words are much more friendly to recite than rhythms and rhymes, making the melody connect with readers. The impact of emotion that assonance creates not only bounds the reader to focus on what is being similarly told but also makes them collectively feel and imagine with moods when the narrator recites something.
Using Assonance in Your Writing
Assonance is one of the most powerful literary tools one can ever create a context with. In this section, let us look for tips and tricks to write good phrases with assonance.
Tips for using assonance in your writing
Here are some tips for writing good sentences and context with assonance.
- One should always look out and select specific kinds of assonance to go with specific phrases. If someone uses too much of it, the audience will be confused about what one is saying and why without evoking any emotions.
- One should always note that earlier assonance was used for symbolism and as a specific phrase so that the reader could focus more on that specific line. Hence, it is important to note that it should be used intentionally.
- One should always look out for a specific context to convey a specific emotion while experimenting with the sound. Not every sound goes with every emotion.
How to identify assonance in your writing
Here are some tips to identify assonance in your writing. Read further!
Identifying assonance in your sentences is very simple, as the key element is the repetition of the same sound. The difficult part kicks in when different kinds of repetition are used in poems and phrases through different literary devices. The key to differentiating assonance is that only those sounds will repeat, which have vowel sounds. Different kinds of repetitions have different characteristics, but this specific element is the key element that makes assonance different and significant.
One should always look out for the emotions and the musical qualities that the assonance creates for the users so they can easily look out for it. The emotion of unity through sound with coherence to different phrases or paragraphs will make you understand that assonance is used in this context.
How to use assonance to convey emotions
Here are some tips on how to use assonance to convey emotions. Keep reading further!
One should always remember that any kind of similar sounding words together, which creates unity and coherence, is how one identifies the assonance. Hence, it should be a way to create similar sounds in words. Assonance supports emotions with unity, constantly focusing on similar-sounding words to create a larger impact.
The next thing one should keep in mind is to establish a rhythm. Without it, similar-sounding words cannot be put in the right place to be deemed as assonance.
It is to be always remembered that similar-sounding words should always be kept specific to focus points and the main theme of the phrases, not distributing them and making the whole context confusing and hectic.
Tips for using Assonance
Here are some tips for using assonance in a better manner.
Be mindful of your word choice.
Always look out for the right choice of words because assonance is a powerful literary device. The full potential of it is in a concentrated manner. The more focused and careful a person is with the use of it, the more powerful the effect of emotion it gives out in the context.
Use repetition intentionally
One should never use repetition because it sounds good, but one should use it with the intention to serve a purpose and display emotion while recitation.
Experiment with different vowel sounds
Different kinds of vowel sounds provide different kinds of emotions in different kinds of contexts. Mixing, matching, and going creative with assonance is always better to produce the maximum effect.
Pay attention to rhythm and flow.
One should always look out for the rhythm and flow when writing assonance in their context, ensuring that the assonance is intentionally put out to draw major emotions and vibes from it.
Don’t overdo it
One should never use repetition too much as it can confuse the crowd with what you are saying, getting lost in continuous repetition. Also, overdoing it, it will lose the main purpose of assonance being put intentionally.
Basic types of Assonance
Let us look out for some basic types of assonance.
Repetition of vowel sounds
Repeating a vowel sound is the most common kind of basic assonance used for a simple explanation. The musical effect of the vowel words is written close together with a rhythm and does not necessarily rhyme, creating unity and coherence with other lines.
For example, in poetry, “hear the lark and harken to the barking of the dark,” the “ar” sound is constantly repeated. An example of repetition in prose can be “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.” with the repeated sound of “ai.”
Internal assonance means that the words you put in your context will have similar-sounding vowels or consonants in between and not beside.
For example, in “All mammals named Sam are clammy,” we can easily find sound repeated in “mammals,” “named,” and “Sam,” and in prose, “She seems to beam with glee, free from the bleakness of her past.” We can look at the “ee” sound repeated in “seems,” “beam,” “glee,” and “free.”
This kind of assonance is hard to detect, and it is also known as half rhyming words as the vowel sound created are not exactly rhymings but are similar.
For example, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” We can see the O sound in Go, gentle and good in the poetry. Also, when we look at the prose example, “The evening breeze was easy and pleasing, teasing the leaves of the trees and rustling through the grass.” There is an “ee” sound in the evening, easy, pleasing, teasing, and leaves. In both examples, we can see some rhymings in the assonance itself.
Advanced Types of Assonance
Let us look out for some advanced types of assonance.
These kinds of assonance have a layered effect by creating a more complex repetition of more than one vowel in a sequence of words. For example, “He clasps the crag with crooked hands” This sentence carries “a,” “e,” and “o” sounds simultaneously. When we look at the prose, “The sun had sunk below the horizon, leaving behind a golden glow that slowly faded to a pale pink,” here “a” and “o” sound is repeated.
Particular assonance is spread out more spaciously in longer paragraphs or context is known as intermittent assonance; the distance is regular but is longer than basic ones. For example, in the poem lines “I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills,” we can see that there are constant “O” and “I” sounds. In the prose, “She drove down the winding road, her mind a jumble of memories and worries, the wind whipping through her hair.” we can see a constant repetition of “o,” “i,” and “e” sounds.
It provides a subtle effect, and it is not exactly rhyming. The sounds are similar but not exact, as the consonant is different every time. For example, in “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate,” we can see that”a ” and”e ” sounds are repeated. In the prose, “The breeze blew through the trees, rustling the leaves and stirring up a sweet, earthy scent,” we can see that the “ee” and “i” sounds are repeated.
Assonance vs Consonance
Assonance deals with vowel sounds whereas consonance deals with consonant sounds which don’t acquire any sound of vowels, including a, e, I, o, u and y. It is important to understand both the concept of using the literary device perfectly with the sound creating the emotional effect.
- Repetition of vowels sounds
- Has different types of assonances for contexts
- Displays focus of emotion and unity
- Is mostly melodies and positive.
Question comes here
Frequently Asked Questions
We can easily identify assonance in a poem by recognizing vowel sounds, i.e., “a,” “e,” “i,” “o,” “u,” and “y.”
Assonance originates from the French word “assonant,” which is defined as a similar sound.
Rhyming words have similar sounding endings and are often connected to lines one and above, having an exact rhyme pattern or scheme, but assonance has similar vowel-sounding words in close proximity in the same sentence or phrase.
Dissonance is the opposite of assonance, which creates difficulty in reading, inculcates tension and negative feeling in the context, which is tough for the audience to understand and can be interpreted in many negative ways, with harsh emotions.
Words like fate, great, hate, lake, mate, rain, snake, state, and wait are some common words that contain assonance.