What are some sound devices used in "Praise Song for My Mother" by Grace Nichols?http://www.slideshare.net/reenab2004/praise-song-for-my-mother

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The main sound device Nichols uses is repetition, but she uses four kinds of repetition. (1) One kind or repetition is alliteration, which is the repetition of a consonant sound or a vowel sound at the beginning of a series of consecutive or nearby words. An example of vowel alliteration is Charles Churchill's famous line that alliterates the /a/ vowel: "Who often, but without success, have prayed for apt Alliteration’s artful aid." Alliteration of the /w/ consonant occurs in Nichols' first stanza in "You were / water to me".

(2) Another type of the sound device of repetition is called polysyndeton, which is the repetition of and. Most often, and is best substituted by commas: e.g., Mother bought apples, oranges, berries and cherries." Polysyndeton, the use of and two or more times, is apparent in several lines, including "deep and blue and fathoming."

(3) Another type is the repetition of words at the beginning of clauses in two or more sentences. This is called anaphora and can be seen at the beginning of each stanza in the repetition of "You were ...": e.g., "You were the moon's eye"; "You were the sunrise ...". (4) Another type of the sound device of repetition is epistrophe, which is the repetition of words (or word endings, e.g., -ing) at the conclusion of clauses. Nichols repeats "to me" in each stanza as in "the flame tree's spread to me ...."

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