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Imagery, in a literal text, is an author's use of vivid and descriptive language to add depth to his or her work. It appeals to human senses to deepen the reader's understanding of the work. Imagery may be defined as the entire effect of images described through a textual medium to give the reader an experience. Imagery is usually not a vague description of something , but a vivid experience painted by the author so as to create a feeling of one of the 5 senses in the reader’s mind. Imagery can be obtained by using personification, alliteration, sound, rhythm, and anything else that helps create for the reader the experience the author intended. You can also look at the imagery an author creates, especially in poetry, to discover the author’s intent or feelings behind his/her poem.

Types of Imagery

There are different types of Imagery pertaining to different senses of the human body

'''Visual Imagery''' aligns with sight, and allows you to visualize events or places in a literary work.

Auditory Imagery pertains to a sound. It triggers the sense of hearing through descriptive text.

Olfactory Imagery uses the sense of smell to visualize an image in the reader's mind.

Gustatory imagery refers to words, descriptions, or pictures in your brain that make you think of taste.

Examples of Imagery

Visual- "The rose is bright red".

Auditory- "It sounds like the chirping of several birds, with their high voices."

Olfactory Imagery- "The air smells like going to the countryside, fresh and green. No smell of smoke but only the fresh water and leaves."

Gustatory Imagery- "The wings were very sweet with a hint of spice. The barbecue flavor was also present."

Imagery in Popular Text

Imagery is very prevalent in famous novels of today's culture. In "Harry Potter". author JK Rowling uses imagery throughout all of her stories. "Then he heard a terrible cry that pulled at his insides, that expressed agony of a kind that neither flame nor curse could cause, and he stood up, swaying, more frightened than he had been that day, more frightened, perhaps, than he had been in his whole life." This particular excerpt from the text emphasizes the shrewdness of a particular sound, utilizing the auditory imagery.

A recent novel that depends heavily on the aspect of imagery is "Fifty Shades of Gray". In this erotic novel, author E.L. James uses vivid visual description to portray sexual scenes to the readers. " He nuzzles my neck, biting down, as he flexes his hips, deliciously slowly" is a passage from the book that serves as an example of visual imagery.


Imagery is an aspect of literature that has proven to be very pertinent in the realm of writing. Without imagery, the reader would not be able to fully garner the experiences of the characters and visual aspects of the settings in novels.

External links [ [ visualize

Works Cited ==

  • Harbrace College Handbook, 12th Ed. Horner/Webb/Miller
  • Literature, An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, Sixth Edition X.J. Kennedy/Dana Gioia