Imagery is an essential element in poems, short stories, novels, and just about every other form of writing. It creates a picture in the reader's or listener’s mind, which is extremely helpful to understand the deep meaning of the selection. Adjectives, similes, and metaphors are commonly used to create the detailed scenes that we imagine when we read a book or listen to music. Aside from that, writers often use onomatopoeia and personification. In “There is No Word for Goodbye,” by Mary Tall Mountain, “Daily,” by Naomi Shihab Nye, “Hope,” by David T. Hilbun, and “The Day of the Storm,” by Tyroneca “Ty” Booker, imagery causes many effects on the reader.
To begin, in “There is No Word for Goodbye,” by Mary Tall Mountain, imagery is used to bring emotion into the words that are spoken. It helps the reader understand how truly indicative the aunt’s words are. For example, it says, “Sokoya, I said, looking through/the net of wrinkles into/wise black pools/of her eyes.” (Page 678, ...view middle of the document...
Giving satisfactory examples is especially important because it enhances the reader’s understanding of what it was like to do those chores. In the poem, it says, “These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips/This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl.” (Page 679, lines 7-8). Assonance is also a sound device that is used in these lines, such as “gray” and “clay.” What would make the imagery even better is a sense of smell or taste of the food that we can now clearly see being cooked in our minds. The smell of flour in the tortillas and the taste of grease would improve the imagery tremendously.
Also, in “Hope,” by David T. Hilbun, imagery is used to show the reader the sights of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. Explaining the sight of a disaster such as a hurricane can sometimes be difficult to do, especially when the damage is also to your spirit. For example, it says, “The school was wrecked, the remains of an airliner strewn all over the football field. But worst, they saw a huge fallen tree. Sticking out from under it was a human arm.” (Page 681). Although this is fairly descriptive when displaying the physical damage done, one simply cannot imagine the harm done to Adam’s mind when seeing that arm sticking out from under the tree. It’s one of those things that just can’t be unseen.
Lastly, in “The Day of the Storm,” by Tyroneca “Ty” Booker, imagery is used in a similar way as in “Hope” by David T. Hilbun, because they both are speaking of Hurricane Katrina. Both of the stories express the catastrophe caused by the storm, so they use symbolism in just about the same way. In this story, it says, “I couldn’t even have imagined what I saw -- houses submerged to their roof, a whole city flooded.” (Page 684). This gives a small display of the corruption done by the hurricane. The other story, however, exhibits the suffering in more detail.
Obviously, all of the selections used imagery wisely to help readers understand, interpret, and connect. In “There is No Word for Goodbye,” imagery helps the audience connect to the aunt and understand her. In “Daily,” it assists in perceiving the hardship of the labor and chores. In “Hope,” it simply shows how the hurricane harmed the region in which it struck. In “The Day of the Storm,” it did the exact same thing. Clearly, all of the works helped paint a picture in the minds of readers.