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39 Imagery Examples (+7 Types) To Stimulate The Senses

If you’re looking to add some oomph to your writing, these imagery examples are just what you need.

Not sure what imagery is?

It’s an amazing literary device that tickles your readers’ senses, grabs their attention, and draws them into your story.

And you can find out more about it right here in this scenic study guide!

In this post, you’ll get some great examples of imagery, and you’ll also learn:

Let’s dive in.

Imagery is the art of creating mental images through descriptive words. Writers use either literal or figurative language to help readers picture or imagine a scene by engaging their senses and evoking emotions.

Imagery can contain either literal or figurative language.

Literal imagery uses descriptive words that mean exactly what they say.

For example:

“The grass was green, and the flowers were red.”

Figurative imagery uses descriptive language that means something different than or goes beyond the literal definition of the words, often through exaggeration, comparison, or symbolism.

For example, “He has a heart of stone” does not mean his heart is literally made of stone. Instead, it is a figurative comparison of his unkind or cruel actions to being as hard and cold as a stone.

Imagery is not automatically the same thing as figurative language. The writer of imagery has options: They can include just literal descriptive language or figurative language or both.

Here are some simple definitions and examples of these literary devices:

A metaphor compares two familiar, but unrelated, things to suggest a likeness between them.

Example: Time is money.

An onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like the action it describes.

Example: The soda fizzed as I poured it into the glass.

Personification is when objects or animals are given human-like qualities.

Example: Opportunity knocked at his door.

A simile compares two different things, using the words “like” or “as.”

Example: She was as happy as a clam.

Example: You snore louder than a freight train!

Elevate your writing by making your scenes come alive, so your readers feel like they are part of the story. Using imagery whenever a description is required will help readers form a mental picture of each scene.

There are seven major types of imagery used in writing. Five of these pertain to the basic senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The remaining two pertain to physical movement and internal sensations or feelings.

Visual imagery appeals to our sense of sight. It describes things that we see, such as colors, size, shapes, and patterns.

Visual imagery is the most common type of imagery used by authors because it helps them vividly describe characters and scenery in a story.

Examples of visual imagery:

Notice that literal descriptive language is mainly used in these examples. However, in the last example, figurative language is used to compare the room to a disaster area.

Auditory imagery engages our sense of hearing. It describes sounds that we hear, such as noise, music, and even silence.

Examples of auditory imagery:

Notice the sounds made by her teeth, the leaves, rain, and wind-and even the silence sounds “eerie.”

Olfactory imagery relates to our sense of smell. It describes different scents, such as fragrances and odors.

Smell has the power to link us to the past, and familiar smells can trigger our memories and emotions.

Examples of olfactory imagery:

Notice how the honeysuckle fragrance triggers a memory for Jenny. Also, the smells of burnt toast and greasy bacon seem unpleasant to the man, but the scents of apple cider and cinnamon appear to evoke pleasant feelings for the woman.

Gustatory imagery appeals to our sense of taste and food cravings. It describes flavors, such as spiciness, sweetness, sourness, savoriness, and saltiness, and also includes the textures and sensations we experience while eating.

This type of imagery works well with olfactory (smell) imagery.

Examples of gustatory imagery:

Are you feeling hungry now? Notice the descriptive words being used to describe flavors and textures. We can also relate to the experiences of the girl sinking her teeth into the steak, and the boy having peach juice running down his chin.

Tactile imagery engages our sense of touch. It describes what you can physically feel, such as temperature, movement, texture, and other sensations.

Examples of tactile imagery:

Notice the feeling of experiencing different temperatures, the textures of the “fuzzy” blanket and the “prickly” burr, and how both the dog and human felt pain after touching the burr.

Kinesthetic imagery is unrelated to the five basic senses and instead relates to the actions and movements of people or objects. It describes physical movement, actions that lead to touch, and temperature.

This type of imagery can be similar to tactile (touch) imagery.

Examples of kinesthetic imagery:

Notice the physical movements of people rummaging, hurling, and raking. The trees and rain also show their movement.

Organic imagery is also unrelated to the five basic senses and instead appeals to internal sensations, feelings, and emotions. It describes personal experiences, such as fatigue, hunger, thirst, fear, love, loneliness, despair, elation, and nostalgia.

Organic imagery is subjective, which contributes to it being a more difficult and complex form of mental imagery since the writer’s goal is to create a specific emotion or feeling within the reader.

Examples of organic imagery:

Here we can feel emotions of happiness, shame, sadness, anger, and frustration.

Examples of imagery can be found in all kinds of writing, such as fiction, nonfiction, novels, stories, essays, poetry, and plays.

Imagery is also found in pop culture, movies, songs, and everyday speech.

Below are examples of imagery taken from excerpts of two novels and two poems as well as examples from a movie, two songs, and various sayings.

The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien:

“The far bank was steep and slippery. When they got to the top of it, leading their ponies, they saw that the great mountains had marched down very near to them. Already they seemed only a day’s easy journey from the feet of the nearest. Dark and drear it looked, though there were patches of sunlight on its brown sides, and behind its shoulders, the tips of snow-peaks gleamed.”

“Birches,” Robert Frost:

“…Often you must have seen them

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning

After a rain. They click upon themselves

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.”

Here the reader can hear the clicks and cracks of the birches on a cold winter morning.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë:

“I heard the rain still beating continuously on the staircase window, and the wind howling in the grove behind the hall; I grew by degrees cold as a stone, and then my courage sank. My habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, forlorn depression, fell damp on the embers of my decaying ire.”

The figurative descriptions of temperature (“cold as a stone”) and dampness allow the reader to feel Jane’s discomfort and depression.

In this poem, he speaks of golden daffodils that are “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” and “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”

The way these daffodils are moving evokes a sense of happiness or glee to the reader.

“Birches,” Robert Frost:

“So was I once myself a swinger of birches.

And so I dream of going back to be.

It’s when I’m weary of considerations,

And life is too much like a pathless wood…”

This excerpt allows the reader to experience the writer’s feelings of nostalgia.

Movies Example:

In the animated movie, 101 Dalmatians, one of the puppies uses figurative imagery (hyperbole) by exaggerating when it says, “I’m so hungry, I could eat a whole elephant.”

Song Examples:

“What a Wonderful World,” Louis Armstrong

“I see trees of green

Red roses too

I see them bloom

For me and you

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue

And clouds of white

The bright blessed day…”

Successful imagery not only paints a pretty picture, but also helps us feel and connect with a scene emotionally.

Notice how Louis Armstrong’s lyrics embrace poetic imagery to illustrate a compelling scene. But, pay attention to how the lyrics make you feel.  Do you feel a soothing sense of love and happiness? Or maybe something deeper?

“Firework,” Katy Perry

“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag

Drifting through the wind

Wanting to start again?

Do you ever feel, feel so paper-thin

Like a house of cards

One blow from caving in?

…Baby, you’re a firework

Come on, let your colors burst…”

This song contains a lot of figurative language (similes and metaphors) by comparing or associating human emotions to objects and events.

Everyday Speech Examples:

People often use imagery to communicate their feelings, thoughts, and ideas. These examples use figurative language to make comparisons that help the listener better understand what the speaker is expressing.

But now you know how to use imagery to upgrade your skills and get the results you want.

The best way to become a master at writing different types of imagery is to practice.

Still not sure where to start?

And before you know it, you’ll be sharp as a tack!

The post 39 Imagery Examples (+7 Types) To Stimulate The Senses appeared first on Smart Blogger.

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