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Transcript of Imagery
How it applies to prose
How it applies to poetry
The formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively.
Imagery is often used in poetry because the sensory experiences help the reader better understand aspects of the poem such as the setting, the theme, the actual and metaphorical messages the poet is trying to convey.
There are two common types of imagery found in poems: literal and conceptual.
Literal Imagery- Describes the actual setting and events of the poem
“And I saw a flash of a white throat,/And a double row of white teeth,/ And eyes of metallic gray,/ Hard and narrow and slit.” The Shark by Edwin John Pratt
Conceptual Imagery- Uses imagery in a metaphorical sense often using similes and other forms of comparisons (not describing the physical setting)
“Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,” Ode to the West Wind by Percy Busshe Shelley. In this passage, the image of the fleeing ghosts are not a part of the poems setting, but rather a modifier to how leaves, referred to in the prior line, move in the wind.
Imagery is used in prose to give the reader an image of what the characters are experiencing in order to better allow them to understand what is going on.
Imagery does not just convey experiences and settings, but the feelings associated with them. The descriptions of something allow the reader to reach their own conclusions and feel a certain way about the images that often aligns with the characters in the writing.
“The virus spread through the civilian populace of Isstvan III at the speed of thought, leaping from victim to victim in the time it took to breathe in its foul contagion. People dropped where they stood, the flesh sloughing from their skeletons as their nervous systems collapsed and their bones turned the consistency of jelly… Ancient cultures… fell without even knowing why, millions dying in screaming agony as their bodies betrayed them and fell apart, reducing them to rotted, decaying matter.” - Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter
The scene in the novel where these events take place is just at the climax in which the protagonists are betrayed. The horrid descriptions of the death of a world at the hands of the betrayer gives the readers a grasp of just how terrible the virus is, and give the reader a disgust and hatred of the now-revealed antagonist that is shared by the protagonists.
Much like other forms of literature, imagery can also be used in order to convey symbols and contrasts ideas and environments.