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Alliteration is a commonly used sound device that gives rhythm to, most often, poetry but is also used in prose as in the instance of Beka Lamb. It places emphasis on certain aspects of the writing, highlighting the importance of something or adding humor or interest and drama to what is being said. The initial sounds are repeated in two or more words within a phrase or sentence.
Beka, a "flat rate Belize creole," according to her mother, has won a competition at school and has been transported into "a person with 'high mind.'" She is mourning the recent loss of her friend Toysie and falls asleep. In her dream, she is on the bridge as a pedestrian and, unseen by the "barefooted old men" who are cordoning off the bridge in preparation for the "five o' clock swinging," the bridge has started to open with Beka still stuck on it. Beka cannot stop the bridge from opening, despite screaming out and she can see people "laughing uproariously" at her in her predicament.
In order to draw attention to her plight, there are various noises being made and there are people shouting instructions to her. The alliteration appears here; "Bicycle bells..." (the repeated "b" at the beginning of the words) followed by "..."honked their horns" (the "h"). This use of alliteration adds to the intense noise that the reader can imagine. There is another example of alliteration in this paragraph as we are told about the "sailors standing.." and calling to Beka to jump. The tension is building and the reader is predicting what might happen next. The use of alliteration contributes to this.
In the fourth paragraph the description of the "filth floating" ("f") delivers an unpleasant visual image of the dirty water as "Without warning" (the repeated "w"), Beka slides off the bridge into the water below. This adds to the drama and anticipation of the event.
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