Poetic devices pt 2
• What do the following terms mean?
• a brief and indirect reference to a person, place,
thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or
political significance. It does not describe in detail
the person or thing to which it refers. It is just a
passing comment and the writer expects the reader
to possess enough knowledge to spot the allusion
and grasp its importance in a text.
“So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
Nothing Gold Can Stay
By Robert Frost
• defined as a word, which imitates the natural
sounds of a thing. It creates a sound effect that
mimics the thing described, making the
description more expressive and interesting.
“The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees…”
“Come Down, O Maid”
By Alfred Lord Tennyson
• refers to polite, indirect expressions which replace words and
phrases considered harsh and impolite or which suggest
• Euphemism is an idiomatic expression which loses its literal
meanings and refers to something else in order to hide its
unpleasantness. For example, “kick the bucket” is a
euphemism that describes the death of a person.
She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed.
He plowed her, and she cropped.”
• It is a stylistic device in which a number of
words, having the same first consonant sound,
occur close together in a series.
“The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
By S.T. Coleridge
• takes place when two or more words close to one another
repeat the same vowel sound but start with different
• The words do share the same vowel sounds but start with
different consonant sounds unlike alliteration that involves
repetition of the same consonant sounds.
“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.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight,
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
• Consonance refers to repetitive sounds produced by
consonants within a sentence or phrase. This repetition often
takes place in quick succession such as in pitter, patter.
• The literary device of consonance is inherently different from
assonance which involves the repetition of similar vowel
sounds within a word, sentence, or phrase. Another
distinction to be appreciated is that of between consonance
and rhyme. In the case of rhyme, consonant sounds can be
present at the beginning, middle, or end of several successive
words, rather than merely at the ends of words. Further, the
device of consonance needs to be distinguished from
alliteration. In contrast to alliteration, consonance involves
repetition of consonant sounds only.
Example of Consonance
‘T was later when the summer went
Than when the cricket came,
And yet we knew that gentle clock
Meant nought but going home.
‘T was sooner when the cricket went
Than when the winter came,
Yet that pathetic pendulum
Keeps esoteric time.
“T was Later Summer Went”
By Emily Dickinson
• a rhythmical pause in a poetic line or a sentence. It
often occurs in the middle of a line, or sometimes at
the beginning and the end. At times, it occurs with
punctuation; however, at other times it does not.
Dead ! One of them shot by the sea in the east…
What art can a woman be good at? || Oh, vain !
What art is she good at, || but hurting her breast
With the milk-teeth of babes, || and a smile at the
Ah boys, //how you hurt! || you were strong as you
And I proud, || by that test.
“Mother and Poet” by Elizabeth Barrett