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Alliteration is created when words beginning with the same consonant sound appear in close proximity within a sentence or line of poetry. Alliteration can be obvious, such as the well-known tongue twister, "But a better butter makes the batter better." But, alliteration can also be more subtle in that the words with the same beginning consonant sounds can be separated by other words. The Literary Devices dictionary gives us the following example of more subtle alliteration:
His soul swooned slowly as he hear the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead. ("Alliteration")
Here, alliteration is first created through the repetition of the s consonant, and, while "soul," "swooned," and "slowly" are all right next to each other, the next word "snow" is separated by four words. The same can be seen of the creation of alliteration through the f consonant.
In the short story "Lamb to the Slaughter," author Road Dahl employs subtle alliteration to enhance the protagonist's emotions.
We first see subtle alliteration employed in the very first sentence: "The room was warm, the curtains were closed, the two table lamps were lit." Here, the repetition of the w consonant creates alliteration, as seen in the words "was," "warm", "were," and the second "were." Alliteration is also created through the repetition of the c consonant in the phrase "curtains were closed" and again in the repetition of the l consonant in the phrase "lamps were lit." All together, the imagery paints the safe, serene atmosphere and shows how calm she feels moments before her dramatic letdown. Other alliteration can be found in the passages in which she is waiting for him to come home and when she first reacts to her bad news.
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