October 24, 2020

6 Types of Imagery in Literature

Reading Time: < 1 minute


Imagery refers to the use of figurative or non-figurative language to present actions, objects or ideas in ways that appeal to our senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste.

Such figures of speech as simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia and so on are the vehicle through which imagery is invoked.

1. Kinesthesia or Kinesthetic imagery

Kinesthesia refers to imagery depicting natural movement, motion or action.

i. The water crawled feebly into the next hole
ii. She grabbed it with the speed of lightning.

Kinesthetic imagery is a poetic device. It may be related to a heartbeat or a pulse

2. Auditory imagery

Auditory imagery is imagery which appeals to the sense of hearing.

i. They booed us off the stage each time we performed.

ii. There was a loud silence in the room.

3. Visual imagery

Visual imagery appeals to the reader’s or listener’s sense of sight.

i. Her face shone as the sky turned chocolate brown.

ii. Our hopes dimmed.

4. Tactile imagery

Tactile imagery is that which appeals to the sense of touch

Example: This kind of news can only pierce a man’s heart like a spear.

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5. Olfactory imagery

Olfactory imagery appeals to the reader’s sense of smell.

Example: Her beauty filled the room like the fragrance of French perfume.

6. Gustatory imagery

Gustatory imagery is the type of imagery that appeals to the sense of taste.

Example: Their relationship turned sour as the man accused his girlfriend of throwing salty remarks at him.

Photo by Cody Davis on Unsplash

Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

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