Literary Device – Assonance and Consonance

posted in: Literary Toolbox | 15

Assonance and consonance are those literary devices that make sentences memorable. In Trankarri – A Boy with a Magical Pen I decided to use most of my literary devices like these when Nathaniel is in the presence of some interesting characters. I think it helps to give the characters personality and voice. Here is a paragraph in which one of the brothers is talking to Nathaniel to make a point.

“Heck, no one really knows, Nate. Can I call you Nate? There are only rumors about that, and as clockmaticians, we do not speculate, we only calculate, never to deviate or insinuate what is or isn’t and what can convert and what cannot.” Tick glowered at his brother. “Or at least that’s how it should be. We know for sure those birds are soulless—which makes them impossible to convert. Our conclusion is that they must be drawn from some Dark World that exists on the other side of this one, but again it’s not a clockematical certainty…just a rumor. A hunch.”

Assonance is the repetitive vowel sounds you hear and consonance is the repetitive consonant sounds you hear. There is also a bit of alliteration used.

It is obvious that most people don’t talk like this so when you read dialogue like this I think it sets them apart, and you notice right away how animated these two brothers are.

Again, it is a wonderful play on words and is so much fun to do. This is what makes writing come alive and reading memorable.

You can also use it to describe a scene that you really want your reader to remember so that he can readily recall it at a moments notice.

Nathaniel rose dizzily and stumbled around, then tumbled down the stygian ledges; and his scream was muffled by the sheer terror of falling into the dark abyss. When he finally sprawled to a stop, he was beaten and battered and bruised all over; and his moans and groans caused by the stones were amplified by the silence that surrounded his strange, solitary situation.

This sentence is packed with alliteration, assonance and consonance. The words just fly off the page into my mind and I can see the scene vividly and feel his pain immensly. There are other literary devices at work here too. His scream was muffled, and the silence was amplified. These could be paradox and/or conceit.

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