Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.
Please help me analyze the alliteration from the line above. Which 'L' words attribute to the alliteration? Lo, Li from Lolita and light, life, loins? Or just light, life, loins.
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In poetry, alliteration requires stressed syllables that begin with the same consonant sound. Nabokov's novel Lolita is written in prose, so we don't need to analyse the metre to determine which syllables are stressed; we only need to know each word's main stress.
In Nabokov's first two sentences, we can find two groups of alliterations:
There are two other sound patterns that strengthen these strings of alliterations:
One can see that Nabokov does not only use alliteration in these opening sentences but reinforces this sound effect by means of other sound effects. The next sentence continues the alliterations, this time based on the letter "t":
Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.
For Humbert Humbert, speaking the girl's name is a sensual experience. He can't resist the sound effects, just like he can't resist the girl.