The sequence is "How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck would?" I am wondering if repetition, particularly of the word "wood", would display symbolism or any other kind of literary device.
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https://www.grammarly.com/handbook/sentences/sentence-style/2/sentence-emphasis/ http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-symbolism.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_much_wood_would_a_woodchuck_chuck http://thepoetrypundit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/alliteration-assonance-and-consonance.html
Does repetition in the following sequence of words display symbolism, emphasis, or both?
How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck would
This is an english tongue twister using mainly consonance and assonance (uck uck, ood ould). This would be used to warm up before a stage performance or as a fun tongue twister in a primary school english lesson.
There is no symbolism, the wood is referring to actual wood, the woodchuck is a small creature. There are no metaphor or allegory.
Position and repetition are the key tools for emphasis. I suppose that the repetition of the word "wood" implies that wood plays a strong part, also the position of the words "how much" indicates a possibly philosophical question.
However, there really is no depth here, there is no more symbolism or meaning here that there is with other tongue twisters such as "peter piper picked a peck of pickled pepper". There is no Peter, the pepper is not symbollic, the sentence is quite simply built to emphasize sounds, not hold any deeper poetical meaning.
Use of Would
If you teacher is being facetious and trying to play "would" for "wood" then the sentence could be viewed as:
- How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck Would
If "Would" was a person or thing then the wood chuck could try and chuck them
- How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could. Chuck would
If a period was placed after "could" then the sentence will terminate there implying "if a wood chuck was able to". The next short sentence with emphasis implies that someone called Chuck certainly would try it. Would being the conditional tense of will.
There was an old game that held a similar riddle:
A woodchuck could chuck no amount of wood since a woodchuck can't chuck wood.
But if a woodchuck could chuck and would chuck some amount of wood, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck?
Even if a woodchuck could chuck wood, and even if a woodchuck would chuck wood, should a woodchuck chuck wood?
A woodchuck should chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood, as long as a wood chuck would chuck wood.
Which, is ridiculously abstract and if this is the answer then ask your teacher if they know the meaning of unreasonable or absurd.