What is Assonance: An Overview


Assonance is a literary device that is commonly used in poetry and prose to create a harmonious and rhythmic sound pattern. It involves the repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together. Similar to alliteration, which repeats consonant sounds, assonance adds a musical quality to writing and adds to its overall aesthetic appeal.

The word assonance comes from the Latin word “assonare” which means “to resound.” This is exactly what assonance does; it creates a musical quality to the writing that resonates with the reader and adds a deeper meaning to the words being used. It is often used to create a mood or evoke certain emotions in the reader, making the writing more powerful and engaging.

One of the most famous examples of assonance can be found in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The Raven.” In the second stanza, Poe uses the repetitive “o” sound in words such as “dreary,” “forgotten,” “over,” and “pore” to create a sense of melancholy and sorrow. The repeated vowel sound creates a haunting and eerie effect, adding to the overall dark and unsettling tone of the poem. This is just one example of how assonance can be used to enhance the meaning and mood of a piece of writing.

Assonance is often used in conjunction with other literary devices such as rhyme, repetition, and alliteration. This creates a more complex and layered effect, adding depth and richness to the writing. For example, Shakespeare often used assonance in his plays and sonnets to add musicality and rhythm to his lines, making them more memorable and impactful.

One of the reasons why assonance is so effective in writing is because our brains are wired to appreciate and respond to patterns and repetition. This is why children’s nursery rhymes and songs are filled with rhymes and repetitive sounds. The same principle applies to writing. When we read a piece of writing with assonance, our brains automatically pick up on the repeated vowel sounds, making the writing more memorable and pleasing to the ear.

Assonance is also used in advertising and branding to make products and slogans more memorable. Jingles and taglines often incorporate assonance to create a catchy and memorable sound. For example, the famous McDonald’s slogan “I’m lovin’ it” uses repetition of the “o” sound to create a rhythmic and memorable catchphrase.

Assonance is not only limited to poetry and writing, but it can also be found in everyday speech. For example, when we say “raining cats and dogs,” the vowels in “raining” and “cats” create an assonant sound. It is used in everyday speech without even realizing it, further showing how important it is in our language and communication.

In conclusion, assonance is a powerful literary device that adds depth, musicality, and emotion to writing. It is commonly used in poetry, prose, and even in everyday language. By using repeated vowel sounds, it creates a pleasant and harmonious effect, making the writing more memorable and engaging. By understanding this powerful device, writers can elevate their writing to a new level and create a more meaningful impact on their readers.