Assonance is one of the few literary techniques used to create a rhyming, musical or sound effect in poetry or prose. It can be considered to be a writing style as well, particularly if a poet or author has a penchant of using assonance without trying. In most cases though, writers meticulously choose words, phrases and weave the sentences to have a particular literary effect. Other commonly used literary effects are consonance and alliteration.
Assonance is a practice of repeating the vowel sounds in a phrase, sentence, stanza or even a paragraph to have a certain rhyming or sound effect. When you use a particular vowel more than once in a phrase or sentence, it would create a musical effect. When several vowels are used in a certain pattern as to be pronounced or recited in a rhythmic way then it has a certain feel, sets a particular mood and also dictates the pace at which a person narrates, recites or just reads.
Assonance should not be confused with alliteration or even consonance. It should not be equated with rhyming couplets or verses. Assonance may lead to an exact rhyming. Also, one can use syllables or certain words that emulate the sound of a vowel that has been used earlier in a sentence to have an effect. One doesn’t have to necessarily use the same vowel again and again, although that is the easiest way to use assonance.
Examples of Assonance
“Go and mow the lawn” is a great example of assonance and we use such sentences every day. Here, the words ‘go’ and ‘mow’ don’t just have the same vowels but have the exact same swing of voice. Similar examples include “Johnny went here and there and everywhere” and “The engineer held the steering to steer the vehicle”. As you read these lines, you would have a rhyming effect. There would be a smooth flow of words in a particular pattern owing to the use of the particular vowels. Also, the choice of words will influence the musical effect.
Assonance is used in poetry, especially in children stories and nursery rhymes. Assonance is used in adult literature, including novels and plays. Assonance can also set the mood as is evident in the poem of Dylan Thomas: “Do Not Go Gentle into the Good Night”. The poem uses assonance to bring in a pensive and somber feel. Try to recite these lines aloud. You can seek inspiration from Sir Michael Caine’s rendition of the same in the movie “Interstellar.”