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Imagery

Definition of Imagery
Imagery means to use figurative language to represent objects, actions, and
ideas in such a way that it appeals to our physical senses.

Usually it is thought that imagery makes use of particular words that create
visual representation of ideas in our minds. The word “imagery” is associated
with mental pictures. However, this idea is but partially correct. Imagery, to be
realistic, turns out to be more complex than just a picture. Read the following
examples of imagery carefully:

 It was dark and dim in the forest.


The words “dark” and “dim” are visual images.
 The children were screaming and shouting in the fields.
“Screaming” and “shouting” appeal to our sense of hearing, or auditory
sense.
 He whiffed the aroma of brewed coffee.
“Whiff” and “aroma” evoke our sense of smell, or olfactory sense.
 The girl ran her hands on a soft satin fabric.
The idea of “soft” in this example appeals to our sense of touch, or
tactile sense.
 The fresh and juicy orange is very cold and sweet.
“Juicy” and “sweet” – when associated with oranges – have an effect on
our sense of taste, or gustatory sense.

Imagery needs the aid of figures of speech


like simile, metaphor, personification, and onomatopoeia, in order to appeal to
the bodily senses. Let us analyze how famous poets and writers use imagery
in literature.

Imagery
Imagery is the literary term used for language and description that appeals to
our five senses. When a writer attempts to describe something so that it
appeals to our sense of smell, sight, taste, touch, or hearing; he/she has
used imagery. Often, imagery is built on other literary devices, such as simile
or metaphor, as the author uses comparisons to appeal to our senses.
Examples of Imagery:
1. I could hear the popping and crackling as mom dropped the bacon into the
frying pan, and soon the salty, greasy smell wafted toward me.
2. Glittering white, the blanket of snow covered everything in sight.
3. The golden yellow sunlight filtered down through the pale new leaves on the
oak trees, coming to rest on Jessica's brown toes that were splayed in the red
Georgia mud.
Examples of Imagery in Literature
1. The poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth uses
imagery throughout:
A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and
dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched
in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
2. Charlotte's Web is full of imagery, such as this passage describing the fair:
"In the hard-packed dirt of the midway, after the glaring lights are out and the
people have gone to bed, you will find a veritable treasure of popcorn
fragments, frozen custard dribblings, candied apples abandoned by tired
children, sugar fluff crystals, salted almonds, popsicles, partially gnawed ice
cream cones and wooden sticks of lollipops."
3. Romeo's description of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet is full of imagery:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her
eyes To twinkle in their spheres till they return. What if her eyes were there,
they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region
stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night.-- See how
she leans her cheek upon her hand!
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