Which poetic device is illustrated by words like "tinkle" and "clanging" in Edgar Alan Poe's "The Bells"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The words tinkle and clanging are examples of onomatopoeiameaning that the words "sound" like what they mean.  

In "The Bells," Edgar Alan Poe uses these and many other onomatopoeic words to describe the different sounds that ringing bells make. 

Some of the other words in this poem that mimic the sound of bells are:

*tintinnabulation

*jingling

*shriek

*roar

*twanging

*groan

The Online Etymologic Dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php) identifies all of these words as being of "imitative" origin, meaning that they are attempts to imitate a sound; in other words, they are examples of onomatopoeia.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial