Alliteration adds to auditory imagery in poems and passages by enhancing an expression of mood the poet wishes to express. In analyzing quotations, a skill needed for the high school standardized tests, it is important to understand voice.
Find Examples of Alliteration, Imagery, Voice
Read the following well known lines from “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot, “Death be not Proud” by John Donne, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, and “Beverly Hills, Chicago” by Gwendolyn Brooks. Look for examples of alliteration, then think about the effect it has on the imagery and voice of the poem or passage.
by T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”
A woman drew her long black hair out tight
And fiddled whisper music on those strings
And bats with baby faces in the violet light
Whistled, and beat their wings
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
And upside down in air were towers
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.
John Donne, “Death be not Proud”
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst though kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
She is a woman who misses moisture, who has always loved low green hedges and ferns.
Gwendolyn Brooks, “Beverly Hills, Chicago”
The dry brown coughing beneath their feet,
(Only a while, for the handyman is on his way)
These people walk their golden gardens.
We say ourselves fortunate to be driving by today.
That we may look at them, in their gardens where
The summer ripeness rots. But not raggedly.
Even the leaves fall down in lovelier patterns here.
And the refuse, the refuse is a neat brilliancy.