Literary Devices In The Poem Jabberwocky

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“Jabberwocky” is just one of the many great pieces that originates from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. In the first four stanzas of the poem, Carroll describes the settings and what surrounds it. The story takes place on a hilltop at nighttime, with several animals including badgers, “borogoves,” parrots, and “grave turtles,” who are all making noise (“Jabberwocky” 93). In the next four lines, the father of the boy who is about to go on an excursion to end the Jabberwocky, explains what he will encounter. The father warns the boy of of the Babble-Voice’s vicious teeth and sharp claws. He also explains the Jabberwocky is attracted to the song of the birds, and where there is one, there is probably more, so he must be cautious.…show more content…
“Jabberwocky” is a ballad that tells about a heroic quest. Ballads are originally intended to be sung, but “Jabberwocky” is considered a literary ballad, which is meant to be read. True ballads have the third, fifth, and sixth stanzas follow the rhyme form of abca, and the syllable pattern of eight, six, eight, six. The remaining stanzas follow the rhyme scheme of abab. “Jabberwocky” follows the syllable pattern of eight, eight, eight and six, aside from the third which steals a syllable from the previous line. Carroll’s unique syllable pattern, with the shortening of the last line gives a sense of separation from the rest (“Jabberwocky” 97). With an unusual ballad form, “Jabberwocky” also consists of many unusual words called portmanteaus. Portmanteaus are the results of combining two or more compound words (Dodgson 139). This technique is used all throughout “Jabberwocky.” Carroll explains that morphing two words together has a stronger effect on the reader, compared to one simple hyphenated word (“Jabberwocky” 93). The initial example seen in “Jabberwocky” is in the first stanza, as “slithy,” which is a combination of the two words, lithe and slimy (“Jabberwocky” 92). In stanza two, the portmanteau, frumious is used, with the combination of fuming and furious (“Jabberwocky” 93). As the young boy departs for battle, the portmanteau, vorpal is used…show more content…
The usage of these wordplays are very successful all throughout “Jabberwocky.” The words jaws, and claws are placed in the second stanza perfectly to create an assonance. In the nineteenth line, dead and head, also create a rhythmic assonance. In the first stanza, the recurring “G” sound can be seen between the words grye and gimble, resulting in an alliteration. The use of alliteration can also be seen in lines five through seven with the words Jabberwocky, jaws, and Jubjub. In line twenty three, an example of alliteration and onomatopoeia can be spotted with the phrase “Callooh! Callay!” The phrase “snicker-snack” is also an illustration of an onomatopoeia. The word slithy, which can be seen in the first and last stanza, is expressing the sound and slimy texture of the toves, thus classifying it as a onomatopoeia. These three techniques create a rhythmic, fun, as well as different reading experience, for anyone who comes across
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