Poetry: Imagery and Figurative Language ENH 110 Answer these questions about the following paintings: 1. What is the image? 2. What details are used to create the image? 3. What is the purpose of the image? 4. How do the details of the image affect the painting overall? Pablo Picasso- “The Old Guitarist” Georges Seurat- “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” Van Gogh- “The Starry Night” Grant Wood- “American Gothic” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “The Cross of Snow” In the long, sleepless watches of the night, A gentle face--the face of one long dead-Looks at me from the wall, where round its head The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light. Here in this room she died, and soul more white Never through martyrdom of fire was led To its repose; nor can in books be read The legend of a life more benedight. There is a mountain in the distant West That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines Displays a cross of snow upon its side. Such is the cross I wear upon my breast These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes And seasons, changeless since the day she died. Imagery Imagery is the painting of pictures in the reader’s mind through the use of language and is based on the five senses: sight, taste, sound, touch, and smell. Because poetry is such a condensed form of language, poets tend to make greater use of imagery than novelists. Images take a variety of forms. They can: • Use a comparison between one thing and another, to develop the picture that is created. This type of image includes similes and metaphors. • Create sound pictures, by using words that make a sound like the thing that is being described, or that add rhythm to the poem. Examples of this type of imagery include alliteration and onomatopoeia. Diction Diction will be specific, qualified or compared, to trigger images familiar from a reader’s own experience. Ex: dog- greyhound flower- daisy Sizes, colors, specific movements, or particular identifying features also need to be included in the description When analyzing poetry, notice how description inspires specific images, and how shape, color, relationship and perspective become clear through words and phrases. Basic Images: Figures of Speech The creation of a mental image often relies on the use of a comparison made through figures of speech. Metaphor-makes an implicit comparison describing something as if it were something else EX: “At the Hospital”-David Ferry She was the sentence the cancer spoke at last, Its blurred grammar finally clarified. What, exactly, has “clarified” the cancer’s “blurred grammar”? Simile- makes an explicit comparison between dissimilar objects and involve the word like or as Ex: “death is like a sunset” or “life is like a rollercoaster” Controlling Metaphors When a metaphor is so extensive that it controls or dominates the entire poem, it is referred to as a controlling metaphor. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Analyzing Imagery 1. What type of image is being used? 2. Why is this particular image being used? 3. What is the effect of this image on the reader? 4. How does the image contribute to the poem as a whole? When you analyse imagery, you should suggest a possible interpretation, rather than stating your ideas as definite. Sunday By Nikki Giovanni hot rolls in a summer basket 1 fried chicken piled on the platter 2 lemons squeezed for lemonade 3 blackberries sugared for pudding 4 corn on the cob is steaming in butter 5 green beans surrounding a ham hock 6 salt and pepper and hot sauce too 7 after all it's Sunday 8 Sunday Connotation vs. Denotation: Sunday is the day of rest and a time for family. By Nikki Giovanni hot rolls in a summer basket 1 fried chicken piled on the platter 2 lemons squeezed for lemonade 3 blackberries sugared for pudding 4 corn on the cob is steaming in butter 5 green beans surrounding a ham hock 6 salt and pepper and hot sauce too 7 after all it's Sunday 8 Imagery: The speaker uses images of hot food to entice the senses and appeal to our sense of taste, sight, and smell. These images invoke the feeling of family, in addition to rest and relaxation, her words flowing with smooth ease. Oscar Wilde- “Symphony in Yellow” An omnibus across the bridge Crawls like a yellow butterfly, And, here and there, a passer-by Shows like a little restless midge. Big barges full of yellow hay Are moored against the shadowy wharf, And, like a yellow silken scarf, The thick fog hangs along the quay. The yellow leaves begin to fade And flutter from the Temple elms, And at my feet the pale green Thames Lies like a rod of rippled jade.