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Literature Terms #4: Sonic and Rhythmic Devices, Structure. AP Literature Mrs. Demangos from Perrine’s Literature Structure, Sound & Sense , 10th ed., Discovering Literature , and Sparkcharts. Lit.Terms 4: what is poetry?.

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literature terms 4 sonic and rhythmic devices structure

Literature Terms #4:Sonic and Rhythmic Devices, Structure

AP Literature

Mrs. Demangos

from Perrine’s Literature Structure, Sound & Sense, 10th ed.,

Discovering Literature, and Sparkcharts

lit terms 4 what is poetry
Lit.Terms 4: what is poetry?
  • Poetry is a literary form characterized by a strong sense of rhythm and meter and an emphasis on the interaction between sound and sense.
  • The study of the elements of poetry is called prosody.
lit terms 4 what is poetry1
Lit.Terms 4: what is poetry?
  • “Poetry is as universal as language and almost as ancient. The most primitive peoples have used it, and the most civilized have cultivated it.”
lit terms 4 what makes poetry so appealing
Lit.Terms 4: What makes poetry so appealing?
  • Simple enjoyment
  • It is regarded as giving value to the fully realized life—something central to existence.
  • Something that, without which, we are spiritually impoverished
lit terms 4 what is poetry2
Lit.Terms 4: what is poetry?
  • “Poetry might be defined as a kind of language that says more and says it more intensely than does ordinary language.”
  • It “exists to communicate significant experience—significant because it is concentrated and organized.”
lit terms 4 what is poetry3
Lit.Terms 4: what is poetry?
  • “Poetry makes a greater use of the “music” of language than does language that is not poetry.
  • The poet, unlike the person who uses language to convey only information, chooses words for sound as well as for meaning, and uses the sound as a means of reinforcing meaning.”
lit terms 4 sonic devices
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices
  • “Poets may repeat any unit of sound from the smallest to the largest. They may repeat individual vowel and consonant sounds, whole syllables, words, phrases, lines or groups of lines.”

(alliteration, assonance, consonance, rhyme)

lit terms 4 sonic devices1
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices
  • The repetition of sound serves several purposes:
    • It is pleasing to the ear
    • It emphasizes the words in which the repetition occurs
    • It gives structure to the poem
lit terms 4 sonic devices2
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

Alliteration:

  • Repetition at close intervals of the initial consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words:

“descending dew drops”

“luscious lemons”

“preach…approve”

“Inebriate of Air-am I”

lit terms 4 sonic devices3
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices
  • Alliteration: Is based on the sounds of letters, rather than the spelling of words:

“keen” and “car” alliterate; but “car” and “cite” do not

  • Used sparingly, it can intensify ideas by emphasizing key words.
lit terms 4 sonic devices4
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands,

Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;

He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls.

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

lit terms 4 sonic devices5
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices
  • Suicide’s Note

The calm,

Cool face of the river

Asked me for a kiss.

-Langston Hughes

lit terms 4 sonic devices6
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

Assonance:

  • The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sequence of nearby words that do not end the same

“hat…ran…amber” “asleep under a tree”

“mad as a hatter” “each evening”

“time out of mind”

“free and easy”

“slapdash”

lit terms 4 sonic devices7
Alfred, Lord Tennyson creates assonance with the “o” sound in this line from

“The Lotos-Eaters”

“All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone.”

Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices
lit terms 4 sonic devices8
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices
  • Similar endings result in rhyme:

“asleep in the deep”

  • Assonance is a strong means of emphasizing important words in a line.
lit terms 4 sonic devices9
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

Consonance

  • Repetition of consonant sound in any position
  • A common type of near rhyme that consists of identical consonant sounds preceded by different vowel sounds

“home…same” “worth…breath”

lit terms 4 sonic devices10
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices
  • In Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.”

lit terms 4 sonic devices11
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

Euphony:

  • “good sound”
  • Refers to language that is smooth and musically pleasant to the ear
  • “Many consider “cellar door” one of the most euphonious phrases in English.”
lit terms 4 sonic devices12
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

Cacophony: harsh sounds

  • The clash of discordant sounds within a sentence or phrase.
  • A familiar feature of tongue twisters but can also be used to poetic effect.
  • It is language that is discordant and difficult to pronounce.
lit terms 4 sonic devices13
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

Cacophony:

“Player Piano”

“never my numb plunker fumbles.”

-John Updike

lit terms 4 sonic devices14
Lit.Terms 4: Sonic Devices

Onomatopoeia

  • The use of a word that resembles the sound it denotes.
  • Words like buzz, rattle, bang, and sizzle all reflect onomatopoeia
lit terms 4 rhythm meter
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Rhythm and Meter:
  • “Our love of rhythm is rooted more deeply in us than our love of musical repetition. It is related to the beat of our hearts, the pulse of our blood, the intake and outflow of air from our lungs.”
lit terms 4 rhythm meter1
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • “Everything that we do naturally and gracefully we do rhythmically. There is rhythm in the way we walk, the way we swim, the way we ride a horse, the way we swing a baseball bat.”
lit terms 4 rhythm meter2
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • While all discourse has some recurrent pattern, poetry usually contains distinct metric patterns—even free verse often has more rhythm than prose.
lit terms 4 rhythm meter3
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • In every word of more than one syllable, one or more syllables are accented, or stressed.
  • Meter is the pattern of stressed (  ) and

unstressed () syllables.

lit terms 4 rhythm meter4
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • We say:

   

today tomorrow yesterday

lit terms 4 rhythm meter5
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Scansion:
  • The analysis of meter and rhyme. When we scan a poem, we determine its metric pattern.
  • Some students may enjoy analyzing meter if it is approached as a light exercise and stressed that it is an art, not a science.
lit terms 4 rhythm meter6
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Foot:
  • A foot is a unit of meter. Most feet contain only one stressed syllable and one or two unstressed syllables.
  • Meaning is usually carried in the stressed syllables.
lit terms 4 rhythm meter7
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Metric feet make up lines of poetry.
  • Lines of poetry make up stanzas.
  • Stanzas make up cantos.
the four major poetic feet
The four major poetic feet:

Iamb Trochee

 

Dactyl Anapest



the four rarer poetic feet
The four rarer poetic feet:

Spondee Pyrrhic

 

Amphibrach Amphimacer



(the amphibrach and amphimacer are often omitted when scanning poetry.)

lit terms 4 rhythm meter8
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Other rhythmic considerations include:
  • Anacursis: the extra unaccented syllable at the beginning of a line.
  • Catalexis: the unaccented syllable at the end of a line.
  • Enjambment: a run-on line, continuing into the next line without a pause.
lit terms 4 rhythm meter9
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

Iamb The Iambic

  foot.

By far the most common foot in the English language.

It is the sound of the human heart.

lit terms 4 rhythm meter10
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Imagine Martin Luther King Jr. standing in front of the Washington Monument shouting to the crowd,

“I am!”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter11
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Here is a line of Iambic tetrameter:

“Whose woods these are I think I know…”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter12
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

       

“Whose woods these are I think I know…”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter13
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Trochee The trochaic

 foot.

  • The trochee is the opposite of the iamb.
  • Imagine a tough guy pulling on his grey fedora hat as he says

“TRO chee”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter14
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Here is a line of trochaic meter:
  • “Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.”
lit terms 4 rhythm meter15
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

     

“Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn

  

and cauldron bubble.”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter16
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Anapest The anapestic foot.



  • The anapest is the galloping foot. Imagine a horse galloping along; hear the sounds of its hooves beating out…
lit terms 4 rhythm meter17
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • a-na-PEST, a-na-PEST, a-na-PEST, a-na-PEST
lit terms 4 rhythm meter18
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Or…think of that girl, Anna, in your class who is such a pest. Point at her (or him) on the word “pest” in a-na-PEST!

Anapest



lit terms 4 rhythm meter19
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Here is a line of anapestic trimeter:
  • “I will go to the lake in the woods…”
lit terms 4 rhythm meter20
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

  

“ I will go to the lake in the woods…”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter21
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Dactyl The Dactylic foot.



  • The dactylic foot is the rhythm of the waltz:

ONE two three, ONE two three, ONE two three

lit terms 4 rhythm meter22
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Imagine a new Di-no-saur exhibit at the natural history museum. Point to the huge, high head and the descending body. Yell, “DAC-tyl-ic, DAC-tyl-ic!”
lit terms 4 rhythm meter23
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Here’s a line of dactylic tetrameter:

“Just for a handful of silver he left us.”

   

“Just for a handful of silver he left us.”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter24
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

“Picture yourself in a boat by a river with

tangerine trees and marmalade skii- iies…”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter25
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

   

“Picture yourself in a boat by a river with

   

tangerine trees and marmalade skii- ii ies…”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter26
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • You know that it would be untrue,You know that I would be a liar,If I was to say to youGirl, we couldn’t get much higher.Come on, baby, light my fire.Try to set the night on fire.
  • --Jim Morrison, “Light My Fire”
lit terms 4 rhythm meter27
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

   

You know that it

   

would be untrue,   

You know that I

   

would be a liar,

lit terms 4 rhythm meter28
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

   

If I was to say to you   

Girl, we couldn’t get much higher.   

Come on, baby, light my fire.   

Try to set the night on fire.

--Jim Morrison, “Light My Fire”

lit terms 4 rhythm meter29
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

Spondee Pyrrhic

 

Spondee and pyrrhic are called feet, even though they contain only one kind of stressed syllable. They are never used as the sole meter of a poem; if they were, it would be like the steady impact of nails being hammered into a board--no pleasure to hear or dance to.

lit terms 4 rhythm meter30
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  • Inserted now and then, spondee and pyrric can lend emphasis and variety to a meter, as Yeats well knew when he broke up the predominantly iambic rhythm of “Who Goes With Fergus?” with the line:

And the white breast of the dim sea,

lit terms 4 rhythm meter31
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
  •      

And the white breast of the dim sea,

lit terms 4 rhythm meter32
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter

Amphibrach Amphimacer



  • The amphibrach and amphimacer are often omitted when scanning poetry.
lit terms 4 rhythm meter33
Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter



  • Amphibrach
  • Think of a frog jumping from lily pad to lily pad croaking “am PHI brach!”
lit terms 4 rhythm meter34
Amphimacer



Camelot

Think of a knight holding 2 swords aloft.

Lit.Terms 4: rhythm & meter
scan the lines below
Scan the lines below:

Live thy Life,Young and old,Like yon oak,Bright in spring,Living gold;

Alfred Lord Tennyson