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Rudyard Kipling

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What do alliteration, assonance, and simile in “The Stranger” by Rudyard Kipling emphasize?

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Rudyard Kipling's "The Stranger" is a poem that makes quite uncomfortable reading to the modern reader—Kipling is describing the supposed difficulty of understanding people who come from a different culture, with different beliefs. The final stanza of the poem is usually interpreted as a warning against racial mixing—the suggestion being that unless "the grapes be all on one vine," the result may well be "bitter."

This final stanza contains a good deal of metaphor, but that's not what you've been asked to look at, so: let's consider alliteration first.

Alliteration is the repetition of the same initial letter in several words placed close together. We don't actually see a lot of this in the poem, so it's notable that Kipling alliterates twice on the word "bitter"—we see "bitter bad," and "bitter bread." This underscores the word, the bitterness, and draws our attention to it. We also see alliteration on "them and their," which again draws attention to this and to the idea of otherness it generates.

Assonance is similar to alliteration, but it means the vowel sounds are echoed from one word to another. One example follows on from "bitter bad"—there is assonance on "least," "hear," and "see." This creates a unity between these concepts, suggesting that seeing and hearing the same things are especially important.

A simile is a figurative device in which one thing is compared to another—something is "like" something else. The word "as" might also be used. There actually aren't any similes in this poem, although there are metaphors, as noted, in the final stanza.

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What are examples of alliteration, assonance, metaphor, simile, personification, or imagery in “The Stranger” by Rudyard Kipling and what to they emphasize or convey?

In the opening line of the poem, the speaker describes a "Stranger within my gate." This is an example of imagery, and the image creates the impression that the stranger is an intruder, trespassing upon the speaker's land, and approaching the speaker's home. This image sets up the rest of the poem, in which the stranger is represented as a threat to the speaker.

The eponymous stranger in the poem is a personification of all those people who the speaker considers foreign or different. The speaker is hostile to people from different cultures because he "cannot tell what powers control," or "What reasons sway (their) mood." He prefers "men of (his) own stock," who, even if they should be "Bitter bad," at least speak the same language as him, and believe in the same God as he does.

In the final stanza of the poem, the speaker declares, "Let the corn be all one sheaf - / And the grapes be all one vine." This is a metaphor whereby the corn and the grapes represent people, and the sheaf and the vine represent either race or culture. The speaker is proclaiming that, in his opinion, people of different races and cultures should not mix with one another.

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