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Imagery: Tapping Into The Readers Sixth Sense

838 words - 4 pages

A skilled author possesses the almost mystical ability to awaken a mysterious hidden sixth sense of the reader. This sixth sense or mind’s eye provides written words the ability to rekindle vivid memories and virtually transport the reader to another place, time, or past experience. All these seemingly magical powers originate from imagery. It is through imagery that an author provides the symbolic hook necessary to achieve the reader’s desired emotional attachment to their work. Anne Sexton’s unfettered use of imagery in “Cinderella” is an excellent example of using imagery to not only paint a vivid picture for the reader, but also allows Sexton to use specific words and phrases to elicit ...view middle of the document...

When the prince arrives at Cinderella’s house in search of whom the slipper fits, he first approaches the eldest sister. “The eldest went into a room to try the slipper on / but her big toe got into the way so she simply / sliced it off and put on the slipper” (81-83) Whereas the more mature reader may see this as simply typical of the price one is willing to pay to achieve their ultimate goal; the image of a girl grabbing her big toe, spreading it away from the rest, and casually slicing it off, is not necessarily conducive to a child’s sweet dreams. But is this Cinderella intended for children? Not necessarily.
“One of the first misunderstandings that must be dismantled ….is the widespread belief that these stories are written primarily for children” (Keely 2). Keely goes on to quote Sexton’s personal interpretation of her Grimms Tale adaptation,
“I’ve taken Grimms’ Fairy Tales and “Transformed” them into something all of my own…. I do something very modern to them….They are small, funny and horrifying….I don’t know if you know my other work, but humor was never a very prominent feature…. Terror, deformity, madness and torture were my bag” (2).
This insight into the inner workings of Sexton’s mind helps to explain the gruesomeness of some of the imagery she chooses to use. When recounting the stepsisters’ attendance at Cinderella’s wedding, Sexton’s casual reference to their torture is simply described as follows: “…. two sisters came to curry favor / and the...

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