Imagery Questions
Close Reading Revision
The term ‘image’ is used to refer to a
descriptive word or phrase that
involved some kind of comparison.
Imagery is likely to involve one of three
figure of speech.
Can you think what these might be?
a comparison between two different things using
the words ‘as’ or ‘like’ (‘A is like B’)
a comparison where instead of saying that
‘A is like B’ the writer says ‘A is B’.
a specific type of metaphor comparing an
inanimate object to a living thing.
Answering Imagery Questions
To explain why an image is a good one, you need to
think about why the comparison sheds light on the
subject under discussion.
For example, think about the word ‘spaghetti’ and what
you associate it with:
- Something Italian
- A tangled mess
- Long thin strips of pasta
- Stuff mixed together
Which of these connotations do you think a writer
had in mind when he described the London
Underground map as “a spaghetti of confusion”?
The following extract describes the attraction of the
Grand Canyon as a tourist destination. Examples of
imagery are underlined.
The heat in Arizona is legendary. The land is so parched each
step throws up clouds of orange dust. When a chain of tethered
pack-horses passed us coming the other way we were
temporarily lost in an orange fog.
As we descended, the Canyon walls grew evermore imposing
and I felt that we were in the middle of a battleground fought
over by armies of cacti. Rocks and boulders hemmed us in like
giant towers. Sun and shade gave them definition and shape:
here a grizzly bear of granite; there a troupe of acrobatic
sandstone dolphins.
1) Identify each as a simile, metaphor or personification.
2) Work out what is being compared to what.
3) Discuss how the two are similar.
Practice Question
All that lies ahead of me is one last hurdle of
embarrassment, when we tell the clients who I
am. Then we’ll all go down to the beach, light a
big bonfire and drink lots of beer. I’ll look up at
the brilliant night sky and reflect on what a
brilliant week it’s been.
What image does the writer use in the paragraph
above to show that he felt the safari had been an
ordeal, and how does it do so?
Practice Question
“Women are the key to chocolate advertising,”
says Rita Clifton, the chair of the leading
branding agency Interbrand. “They are not
only important consumers in their own right
but they also act as gatekeepers to the rest of
the family.”
Explain how effective “gatekeepers” is as an
image or metaphor.
Practice Question
From the tail of my eye, I saw what I took to be a
kestrel. I turned my head to watch it as it climbed, and I
waited for it to go into its hover, according to timehonoured kestrel custom. But it did nothing of the kind.
It turned itself into an anchor. Or a thunderbolt.
No kestrel this: it crashed into the crowd of martins,
and almost as swiftly vanished. I think it got one, but I
can’t swear to it, it was all so fast.
It was a hobby-hawk.
1) What is the writer suggesting about the bird when
he says “It turned itself into an anchor”?
2) Why is the comparison to a “thunderbolt” an
effective image or metaphor?