Cacophony Examples


Cacophony literally means harsh, jarring sounds--sounds that do not sound good together. In literature, cacophony is used to refer to words that have a harsh, jarring sound. Instead of the text being rhythmic or pleasant, the text is unmelodious.

Examples of Cacophony:

From Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky"--the use of nonsense words adds

cacophony to the poem:

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!"

William Carlos Williams's "The Great Figure" also has cacophony-notice how it is one sentence, but is written in a disjointed way. Notice how the words do not lend themselves to harmony, but to a jarring disconnect.

Among the rain

and lights

I saw the figure

in gold

on a red





to gong clangs

siren howls

and wheels rumbling

through the dark city.

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