Sunday, June 3, 2012

ALLITERATIVELY SPEAKING

By

Anna Arlene Amsterdam

Redheaded Rosie played with perky Patsy and sassy Sally while daring Dan dived into the deep, dark water. Now, isn’t that clever, I asked myself.
When I was very young I wrote a little story and asked a teacher to read it. There was one passage that I thought was very clever such as the one above and I anxiously waited to see if she would comment on my creativity. When she finally returned my story, I quickly turned to the aforementioned passage to see if there were any comments. And yes, there were—but to my dismay, she had marked out several of the words and written in “alliteration”.

What could alliteration allude to, I asked myself. I looked the word up in the dictionary and saw that it meant, more or less, the repetition of a sound at the beginning of two or more consecutive words. And this was a bad thing? When I had read poetry with alliteration, I had thought the poets to be very talented and creative.

I asked the teacher about this and she smiled and said, “It just depends on the poet and the poem. It’s certainly acceptable when the poet intends for his work to be alliterative as in satire. But you must try to avoid it in prose.”

“But why, what’s wrong with it?” I asked alliteratively.

She smiled and simply said, “Read your passage out loud. Listen to how it sounds to you. If you had to read an entire story like that, you would lose the gist of the story and be bogged down in bouncing rhythm.”

“Oh, okay,” I answered, still alliteratively.

What a disappointment—my admirable alliteration couldn’t compete with my teacher’s exemplary expertise.

Palmaltas note: The above is a work of fiction.

(Published in Seasons for Writing, March 2002)

5 comments:

marja said...

Love it! How cute, and what a great example of, actually, several things.

Marilyn Levinson said...

I think using alliteration is something young writers go through. Sometimes it's simply fun. And what's wrong with what? I mean, that?

Palmaltas said...

Thanks, Marja and Marilyn. I think it can be fun, also.

Sunny Frazier said...

Okay, let me just say that I LOVE alliteration! I use it in my novels, sparingly, of course. I also keep it to sections that are more comedic. I've written many prize-winning short stories and yes, I think my creative use of alliteration is part of the reason.

Of course, there are different opinions on this "flaw" in writing, but rules are made to be broken when done creatively!

Palmaltas said...

Thanks for dropping by, Sunny. I enjoy alliteration and when I started writing "professionally" had no idea it might be a problem or a "flaw".