Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Definition: Imagery, Symbolism (including Simile and Metaphor), Apostrophe, Personification


Imagery


Imagery refers to anything in the poem that you can imagine. The most common form of imagery in poetry is (1) Visual Imagery. Images related to sound is called (2) Auditory Imagery; those related to touch is called (3) Tactile Imagery; referring to smells, (4) Olfactory Imagery; and imagery to do with taste is (5) Gustatory Imagery. Imagery concerning movement, i.e. (6) Kinesthetic Imagery, is sometimes also identified.

When you notice imagery, ask yourself: What is the purpose of the imagery? Is it merely to describe something, or does it reveal a mood or attitude? Do the imagery act symbolically?

Symbolism

A symbol is something that stands for, or represents, something else. For example, the flag below stands for, or symbolizes, the Republic of Korea.

Often, symbolism is "undefined". In other words, the symbol could refer to more than one thing.

There are two other ways in which something can stand for something else. They are called simile and metaphor.

If I say the sun is like an orange, then an orange becomes a symbol for the sun. They are similar in color and in form (spherical). When I use terms such as "like", "as", "than", "resembles", we call it simile.

"The sun is like an orange", is an example of a simile. When I omit such words of reference, and merely say X = Y, it is a metaphor. For example, "The sun is an orange" is a metaphor.

Simile and metaphor are usually considered "defined". We are certain what it represents.

Apostrophe

Apostrophe is a way of speaking to someone or something which one do not ordinarily speak to. For example, if I speak to my chair, or speak to Elvis Presley, it is called apostrophe.

Personification

When a thing, animal or something abstract (e.g. Truth), is made human, it is called personification. In "To the Evening Star", William Blake refers to "every flower that shuts its sweet eyes". Flowers do not have eyes -- this is an example of personification.

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