Use of Alliteration, Assonance, and Cacophony

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Use of the Rhetorical Strategies of Alliteration, Assonance, and Cacophony


Candice Scheffing, a student a New Mexico Tech, not to long ago sent an email to the Clark112-list on the subject of gender. She had analyzed an essay by James Q. Wilson called "Gender" for his use of rhetorical strategies. Many rhetorical strategies can be seen in the email. The rhetorical strategies that can be found are alliteration, assonance, and cacophony.

The major rhetorical strategy that Scheffing used was alliteration. The use of alliteration by Scheffing serves to be quite effective in email because it allows her to point out the use of rhetorical strategies by Wilson in his essay. An example of alliteration used by Scheffing is, "A number of examples are obvious through the first few paragraphs of the essay" (1). The alliteration can be seen in the words "first" and "few." Another sample of alliteration in Scheffing’s work can be seen in this sentence, "This reference to nature as having human characteristics is a personification" (1). The use of alliteration in this sentence can be seen in the beginning sounds of "having" and "human" that are in a series. A final example of alliteration in Scheffing’s email is, "This statement seems most disturbing to anyone who would read it because it either doesn’t make sense, or is believed to be completely wrong" (1). The alliteration can be noticed in the series of words; "statement," "seems," "who," and "would." The use of alliteration by Scheffing serves as probably her most useful use of rhetorical strategies. Another rhetorical strategy used by Candice is assonance.

Assonance does not serve as a major source of rhetorical strategies, but it still is present in her email. The use of assonance keeps the readers attention somewhat because the email begins to sound like a rhyme as it is read. The first example of assonance in Scheffing’s email is, "It becomes interesting that ‘nature’ can ‘play tricks’ on humankind" (1). The use of assonance can be seen in the same sounds of "nature," "play," "can," and "humankind." A second example of assonance in the email is, "Two contrasting words, ‘essential’ and ‘useless’ are in the same sentence referring to the same group of people: males" (Scheffing, 1). The assonance is evident in these sounds of "same" and "males." The third example of assonance I have seen in Scheffing’s email is, "These three forms of rhetoric, personification, antithesis and logos are each very important keys to the effectiveness of Wilson’s essay" (1).

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The use of the words "these," "three," "rhetoric," "forms," and "important" serve as examples of assonance in the email. The final rhetorical strategy employed by Scheffing is cacophony.

Candice Scheffing uses another rhetorical strategy, cacophony, to harshly get her point across in her email. According to the website created by Ross Scaife, "A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples," the meaning of "Cacophony: [is] harsh joining of sounds" (1). An example of Scheffing’s use of cacophony is, "It strikes more interest in the reader because they want to discover what Wilson is talking about when he says that males are both ‘essential’ and ‘useless’" (1). Another illustration of cacophony can be seen in this sentence, "It let’s the reader know that he has done his homework on the subject and is prepared to defend his side of the argument" (1). As shown in the previous example, Scheffing uses harsh sounds such as "s," "d," "e," and "t" as a way to keep the readers attention.

Candice Scheffing uses the rhetorical strategies of alliteration, assonance, and cacophony to illustrate her point in her email. The point that Scheffing is trying to prove is that Wilson used rhetorical strategies such as personification, antithesis, and logos in his essay. The use of rhetorical strategies in Scheffing’s email allows her to keep the reader interested in the subject and realize through examples what the subject of her email is all about.

Works Cited

Scheffing, Candice. Candy@nmt.edu> "’Gender’ and Rhetoric." In Clark112-list, Nov. 20, 1999. <Clark112-list@nmt.edu> (Nov. 20,1999).

Scaife, Ross. A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples. 11 Oct. 1999.

<http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/rhetoric.html> (11/22/99).


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