Consonance is a literary device, and it is a great favorite of fiction writers and poets. Literary definition of consonance is repetition of sound or a vowel, two or more times in the shortest possible time. However, consonance should not be confused with either assonance or alliteration, while the assonance is repetition of same vowel sounds, and alliteration is first consonant sound many times. Consonance is used both in prose and poetry alike. It is generally used in poetry to introduce rhyme to the lines and to improve intensity of words. Rhyme comes from repeating a sound in recurring words. For example ‘I think I like the pink kite,’ the sound ‘k’ is repeated in this example, and creates a perfect example of a rhyme.
Rhymes are divided in two categories, exact and near rhymes.
When same vowel and consonant sounds are repeated in two words to form a rhyme, e.g. pain, pane. Generally the two words are homophones that sound same but are spelled differently.
Half / Slant Rhyme:
Half and Slant Rhyme is also known as Near Rhyme. The words are same but the sounds are different. Half rhymes are used along with assonance. Check this example that uses near rhyme
“If love is like a bridge
or maybe like a grudge,
and time is like a river
that kills us with a shiver,
Bridge, grudge, river and shiver are clear examples of this poetic device.
In some examples consonance sounds are repeated in the beginning, middle and end.
. (Using ss)
y. (Using m)
. (Using tt and er)
. (Using sl, th and er)
Examples of consonance in pairs
‘First and last,' 'odds and ends,' 'short and sweet,' 'a stroke of luck,' and 'struts and frets' are examples of consonance in pairs.
Consonance in Sentences
Consonances in sentences are easily recognized.
· Mike likes his new bike.
· The black colored sack is in the back of the car.
· Our visit to zoo was amazing, we saw Chimpanzees and lizards.
· Boss, toss the glass.
· Mary you can mash the potatoes in this dish while I prepare vegetables for the dinner.
Use of consonance in poetry
Poetry is one literary genre where consonances as literary devices are used extensively.
Emily Dickenson is a famous poetess who was fond of using consonance as a literary device.
He Fumbles at Your Spirit
He fumbles at your spirit
As players at the keys
Before they drop full music on;
He stuns you by degrees
Prepares your brittle substance
For the ethereal blow,
By fainter hammers, further heard,
Then nearer, then so slow
Your breath has time to straighten,
You brain to bubble cool
Deals one imperial thunderbolt
That scalps your naked soul
Notice the words highlighted in red in this poem they are the perfect example of use of consonance in place of end rhyme.