One Order of Imagery, Coming Right Up

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"Imagery is therefore one of the strongest modes of literary expression because it provides a channel to your active imagination, and along this channel, writers bring their works directly to you and into your consciousness" (Roberts 129).

            I love this definition of imagery because I have such high respect for this form of literary expression. Not that imagery is difficult or anything (I mean the book said even lake could be imagery), it is just so powerful. Imagery has the power to take you to places you may have never even seen before. You read the words and sculpt an image in your mind using images you have seen to create a new one. Imagery gives you both a mental and physical escape. Physical, in that you can actually place yourself in the vision of the author and escape the present time and mental because of the imagination that ensues.

            John Masefield's "Cargoes" takes us to Palestine, Spain, and even England simply through imagery. We may have never been to these places before, but we can sculpt an image in our minds using the knowledge we already have of the people, time, and culture of these countries. The cargo from each scene helps sculpt images as well, not only of the actual objects, but also of the transportation. When I read "Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine/ With a cargo of ivory/ And apes and peacocks" (2-4) I imagine a pleasant ride home through calm waters. Likewise, with the description of the Spanish "Dipping through the tropics by the palm-green shores/ With a cargo of diamonds/ Emeralds, amethysts" (7-9) I think of a more exotic scene and a bit less calm than Palestine. The treasures being transported are rich, rare, exotic, and precious which adds to a scene of exotic landscape. In contrast, the description of British cargo being "Dirty" (11) "With a cargo f Tyne coal/ Road rails/ pig-lead" (13-14) makes me think of the industrial age. I picture a rough travel, loud engines, dirty workers with sweat and blackness caked on their faces and under their fingernails. I also imagine this to be occurring during rough weather because of the description of the "mad March days" (12).

            This is what I pictured; however, the images will be different for every reader because we all have a different history of images stored in our brains to pick and choose from to sculpt our new images. That is part of the magic and power of imagery. In my opinion, almost every piece of writing has imagery. Everything we read provides new images, new images that we can use to sculpt other images when the time comes. When we read we picture an image in our minds of what is going on, what is being said. Even case studies, with their examples, provide us images. Student research papers provide images through whatever quotes and examples they use to prove their point. I am probably stretching the definition of imagery here. I would not teach that everything is imagery and what not, it is just a personal opinion I need to look into.   

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