Analysis Of Claude Mckay 's Subway Wind

Decent Essays

Form is an essential component of any poem; it can make certain words stand out, and can convey the author’s meaning even more. In Claude McKay’s “Subway Wind”, his repetition of assonance and consonance throughout the poem brings about a word flow that makes the poem read much more smoothly. In addition to using these devices, McKay’s careful use of ten syllables per line brings about a distinct structure and form to the piece. Assonance is a literary device that emphasizes the repetition of vowel sounds without repeating any consonants; in other words, the pairing of similar sounding vowels. The effects of using assonance can bring about a simpler and more elegant cadence to works of literature. An example of this is evident in the fifth line of “Subway Wind” when McKay writes, “And pale-cheeked children seek the upper door”. The emphasis of the vowel sounds in ‘pale-cheeked’ and ‘seek’ helps to bring about structure to the line. The similar sounding vowels are utilized in such a way that the line provides a flow to make the reader pronounce each word in a particular way. In my experience reading this aloud, I had to slow down to get the full effect of assonance in the passage. Another example of McKay utilizing assonance in his work is in the 10th line, “Through sleepy waters, while gulls wheel and sweep”. The accentuation on the vowel sounds of ‘sleepy’, ‘wheel’, and ‘sweep’ bring about a smooth tempo to the poem. Although the words used in this line do not sound

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