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Which poetic device is illustrated by words like "tinkle" and "clanging" in Edgar Alan...

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clanjc | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 25, 2013 at 7:28 PM via iOS

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Which poetic device is illustrated by words like "tinkle" and "clanging" in Edgar Alan Poe's "The Bells"?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 25, 2013 at 8:43 PM (Answer #1)

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The words tinkle and clanging are examples of onomatopoeia, meaning that the words "sound" like what they mean.  

In "The Bells," Edgar Alan Poe uses these and many other onomatopoeic words to describe the different sounds that ringing bells make. 

Some of the other words in this poem that mimic the sound of bells are:

*tintinnabulation

*jingling

*shriek

*roar

*twanging

*groan

The Online Etymologic Dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php) identifies all of these words as being of "imitative" origin, meaning that they are attempts to imitate a sound; in other words, they are examples of onomatopoeia.

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