Roethke uses alliteration in "Root Cellar." Alliteration means placing words that begin with the same consonant in close proximity to one another to create a sense of rhythm or repetition. In the opening line of the poem, Roethke writes of the cellar as "dank as ditch," using the "d" sound alliteratively. In the second line, he uses repeated "b" sounds: "bullbs," "broke," "boxes." In line seven, we encounter "roots ripe."
Roethke also uses imagery, which is description that appeals to any of the five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. In this poem, sight and scent imagery is at work. For example, we can visualize and smell "mildewed crates," and smell damp roots "ripe as old bait."
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