Imagery in Literature

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 1996

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A good paper that took me a while to write (2 pages) lots of research

Imagery is writing that appeals to one or more of the five senses. Imagery is frequently written using similes, metaphors or personification. Many writers use imagery to convey a picture without saying directly what the image is. This style of writing adds a unique mystery to the poem or story. Imagery is best used in nature, but it can also be used for describing inanimate objects. Many writers even use imagery to display something that cannot be seen, such as wind or heat. Good use of imagery is often written in a simple way that is much like the way a child would see things. Sometimes, however, imagery is complex and hard to decipher.

Imagery is an important element in writing. Imagery can stimulate the imagination and create vivid pictures in the mind. Imagery can have a different effect on everybody.

Some people will see things in a different way than other people see them, unlike in television.

H.D. was one of the first writers to use imagery. Inspired by Ezra Pound, H.D. once wrote in her poem titled 'Heat':

Cut the heat-

Plow through it,

turning it on either side

of your path.

The reader can clearly see the heat being pushed out of the way by an opposing force. The reader can also imagine the turbulence created by this force. The heat becomes thick, as if it is a solid object. William Carlos Williams used simple language in his poetry. In 'The Red Wheelbarrow,' Williams uses lively colors such as 'a red wheel barrow' and 'beside the white chickens'. The contrasting colors that he uses seem real and multidimensional. In his poem, 'This Is Just to Say,' Williams expresses his sorrow for having eaten plums that were being saved for something else. The reader does not focus in on the sorrow he is feeling as much as the actual taste and texture of the plums. Williams writes:

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

The plums sound so appealing in the poem that the reader almost sympathizes with Williams. The plums seem like they would be too good to not eat, even if you do not prefer plums.

Imagery is sometimes described as 'painting a picture with words,' but it is actually a lot more than that. Imagery contains more than just a view of what a writer thinks. Imagery is a collage of senses that the writer imagines and feels. Imagery can best be described as 'witnessing an entire world made up of words.'