Alliteration In To Kill A Mockingbird

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lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Your page numbers may vary with other copies of the novel, so you will have to find the location of the quotes in your own copy, but I will help you with a few.

Since this is a novel, you are not going to have tons and tons of alliteration like you would with a poem, but you will have some since language is language. Most of it will be in the text, not dialogue. For example, from Chapter 1, there is this instance of alliteration in the description of Maycomb:

In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. (grass grew and sidewalks sagged in the square)

In Chapter 2, Miss Caroline is reading the children a story about cats:

The cats had long conversations with one another, they wore cunning little clothes and lived in a warm house beneath a kitchen stove. (cats, conversations, cunning, clothes)

In Chapter 3, there are a few more examples when Walter comes to lunch at the Finch house.

The silver saucer clattered when he replaced the pitcher, and he quickly put his hands in his lap. (silver saucer)

In Chapter 4, the children are playing the "Boo Radley" game:

We polished and perfected it, added dialogue and plot until we had manufactured A small play upon which we rang changes every day. (polished, perfected)

From Chapter 5:

Miss Maudie's benevolence extended to Jem and Dill, whenever they paused in their pursuits...(paused, pursuits)

And so on. 

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is interesting that students use alliteration so often in their conversations, but yet seemed somewhat puzzled when called upon to identify it in a work of literature.  Unlike assonance, which is the repetition of a particular vowel sound, alliteration, the repetition of initial cosonant sounds, can be recognized visually as well as phonetically. 

Here are some additional examples with the letter's sound indicated:

CHAPTER 1

(the very first sentence!)

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow /b/

As Scout relates the family history, she describes her father's law office in the sixth paragraph:

Atticus's office in the courthouse contained litle more than a hat rack, a spittoon, a checkerboard, and an unsullied Code of Alabama. /c/

In this same chapter, the final paragraph contains another example:

The old house was the same, droopy and sick, but as we stared down the street we thought we saw inside shutter move. /s/

CHAPTER 2

In the thirty-first paragraph, Scout describes the action of her teacher:

Miss Caroline walked up and down the rows peering and poking into lunch containers, nodding if the contents pleased her, frowning a little at others.  /p/

As Burris Ewell leaves the schoolroom, he shouts back at Miss Caroline,

'Aint' no snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher ever born c'n make me do nothin'!'   /s/  and /m/

CHAPTER 3

Not far from the end of the chapter, Atticus explains the history of the Ewells to the children:

'In certain circumstances, the common folk judiciously allowed them certain privileges by the simple method of becoming blind to some of the Ewells activites.' /c/  /b/

CHAPTER 4

In paragraph eighteen, Scout describes a change at home:

For some reason,...Calpurnia's tyranny unfairness, and meddling in my business had faded to gentle grumblings of general disapproval.

CHAPTER 5

Describing their childhood play, Scout narrates in the fourth paragraph,

Our tacit treaty with Miss Maudie was that we could play on lawn,...terms so generous we seldom spoke to her, so careful were we to preserve the delicate balance of our relationship....  /t/  /m/

CHAPTER 6

As the children sit with Dill on his last night in Maycomb, Scout notices,

There was a lady in the moon in Maycomb. /m/

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