What are some sound devices used in "A Far Cry from Africa" by Derek Walcott? What is the purpose of these devices?

The sound devices of meter, rhyme, alliteration and consonance, and assonance are used in Derek Walcott's "A Far Cry From Africa" to accentuate the themes of violence, conflict, and discord.

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Meter, naturally, is the most dominant sound device in "A Far Cry From Africa." The poem maintains a normative meter of iambic pentameter, whose regularity—as befits its status as the primary meter used in English-language verse—reinforces the poem's premise that the "violence of beast on beast is read / As natural law" (lines 15–16) as something constant and inevitable. The frequent variations from iambic pentameter, however—both in line length and in substituted metrical feet—evoke the chaos and upheaval of the violence itself.

Walcott also uses the poem's rhyme scheme to convey his theme. It begins abab, the alternating rhymes fitting the theme of a pair of antagonists: Black against white, African against European. For most of the rest of the poem, however, the rhyme scheme is much less regular, reflecting the speaker's inability to neatly map each side's viciousness toward the other. The dissonance created by the slant rhyme used throughout reinforces this effect.

"A Far Cry From Africa" also employs alliteration, consonance, and assonance to convey its theme of conflict and disharmony. K and hard c sounds feature prominently, as in "Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries" (5). The back of the tongue striking the roof of the mouth in forming this sound translates the attacks of the British and Kikuyu against each other into the poem's own harsh acoustics. Similarly, the prevalence of plosives sounds, such as b and p, represents the mutual antipathy of these two groups, since these sounds are formed by the lips parting, separating themselves from each other. Lastly, the long i sounds throughout interweave the poem with echoes of a cry of pain.

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