What is Imagery?

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What is Imagery?
Imagery is a literary device used by an author to evoke a sense of experience through language. The author, through his words will evoke one or more of the reader’s senses, enabling him to interpret in his mind’s eye what the author is personally feeling (or describing) thus the use of the word ‘image’.

There are 7 types of imagery. Visual imagery is when a sequence is being described as it is meant to be seen, evoking a visual image. Auditory imagery is when a sound is being described. Olfactory imagery pertains to smell being described. Gustatory imagery pertains to describing a sense of taste. Tactile imagery is when the author is trying to convey a sense of touch. Organic imagery is trying to convey an internal sense such as fear, loathing or love. Kinesthetic imagery is trying to convey movement or tension.

Other literary device such as metonymy (the substitution of another word for something that is closely associated to it), synecdoche (the use of a part of a whole to represent the whole or the whole to represent its parts) and onomatopoeia (words that literally sound like their meaning) among others are used to heighten imagery.

An example of tactile/organic imagery using synecdoche: ‘her heart longed to feel his lips, tender as a butterfly, resting on her neck’.

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