4 Analysing Imagery - Introduction Unit IntroductionIn this unit we will be learning how to analyse images in poetry. This unit provides an addition to the unit about analysing poetry, and looks specifically at how poets paint pictures with their language.We will explore some of the different types of poetic imagery, including the basic images, such as simile and metaphor, and the more advanced ideas behind assonance and the extended metaphor. We will also look at poems and poetry extracts to show you how these images work in practice.Before we start looking in detail at the different types of imagery, let’s look briefly at what imagery is.
5 Analysing Imagery - Introduction What is Imagery?Imagery is the painting of pictures in the reader’s mind through the use of language. 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.
6 Analysing Imagery - Introduction Using ImageryWhen you use imagery in your own poetry, you must take great care to create suitable images. It can be very tempting to use clichéd images that you will have encountered before, such as “as white as snow” or “as big as a house”. The best images, however, are original and thought provoking.One of the best ways to learn how to use imagery is by reading widely. Look at as many poems as you can, from many different poets, and from all different times in history. On the next slide you will find two examples of ‘original’ images from two poets working three hundred years apart. Try to work out what type of images they use, and discuss the effects created.
7 Analysing Imagery - Introduction Using Imagery“Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,So do our minutes hasten to their end”William Shakespeare ( )“I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding”Gerard Manley Hopkins ( )
8 Analysing Imagery - Introduction When you are analysing imagery, for instance in a poetry essay or in a literature exam, it is very important to avoid simply ‘listing’ the images that the poet uses. For each image you discuss, you should consider:What type of image is being used.Why this particular image is being used.What the effect of this image is on the reader.How the image contributes to the poem as a whole.When you analyse imagery, you should suggest a possible interpretation, rather than stating your ideas as definite.
9 Analysing Imagery - Introduction ‘Basic’ ImagesAlthough the images below are described as ‘basic’, they are by no means easy to use or to analyse. They are, however, the most simple forms of imagery that you will come across.Simile: A comparison between two things, using the words “like” or “as … as a …”.Metaphor: A comparison between two things, where one is said to be the other.Alliteration: The use of repeated consonant sounds to create a ‘sound picture’.
10 Analysing Imagery - Introduction ‘Advanced’ ImagesThe images below are less common, but many poets make use of them. They are explained in greater detail further on in this unit.Extended Metaphor: A metaphor is extended to run throughout a poem or piece of prose.Onomatopoeia: A word that sounds like the thing it describes, for example “ow!” or “crash!”Assonance: The use of repeated vowel sounds to create a ‘sound picture’.Personification: Giving human attributes to an inanimate thing.
11 Analysing Imagery - Simile CONTENTSWhat is a Simile? SlidesAnalysing Similes SlidesExample Poems: Slide 21“Samela” Slides“Diaphenia” Slides“A Red, Red Rose” Slide 26
12 Analysing Imagery - Simile What is a Simile?A simile is a type of imagery that makes a comparison between one thing and another, to strengthen the ‘word picture’ in the reader’s mind. There are two types of simile:1. Where one thing is said to be like another, for instance:“The sun looked like a golden coin in the sky.”In this example, the sun is being compared to something that looks similar, i.e. the golden coin.=£1
13 Analysing Imagery - Simile What is a Simile?2. Where one thing is said to be as … as a …, for instance:“The moon shone as brightly as the stars.”This type of simile gives a slightly more definite feeling. Here, the light of the moon is being compared to that of the stars.=
14 Analysing Imagery - Simile Analysing SimilesWhen you are discussing a simile, and the effects it creates in a poem, you should describe the ‘word picture’ that you see in your mind, and how the links you associate with that picture add to the poem. You may find that you can discuss more than one aspect of the simile. Here is an example:“The sun looked like a golden coin in the sky.”In this simile, the comparison of the sun with the golden coin creates a strong impression of brightness. The poet could also be suggesting wealth, as we normally associate golden coins with riches.
15 Analysing Imagery - Simile Analysing SimilesHere are some more examples for you to practise with. Because these similes are taken out of context, you will need to create your own inferences about the effects that they might create within a poem:“The moon shone as brightly as the stars.”“The cat was as black as the night.”“The man cried like a baby.”“The house was as silent as the grave.”“The tree was gnarled and bent, like an old man.”
16 Analysing Imagery - Simile Analysing SimilesHere are some possible ways of analysing these similes, although remember, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer:“The moon shone as brightly as the stars.”This simile compares the moon with the stars, its brightness equalling that of its companions in the sky. The poet could be using the image of brightness as a metaphor for happiness. Perhaps this night will bring joy and ‘brightness’ to the characters in the poem.
17 Analysing Similes “The cat was as black as the night.” Analysing Imagery - SimileAnalysing Similes“The cat was as black as the night.”In this simile, the poet creates a picture of a black cat, perhaps slinking through the night, the same colour as its surroundings. This simile plays on the traditional associations between black cats and the supernatural, using the image of night to strengthen the link. It is at night time that witches do their evil work, and it is also in the dark that cats hunt their prey.
18 Analysing Similes “The man cried like a baby.” Analysing Imagery - SimileAnalysing Similes“The man cried like a baby.”This simile creates a striking image, that of a grown man sobbing and crying like a tiny baby. The image is particularly effective because it is so unexpected. In our society, it is not ‘normal’ for men to cry, let alone to do so “like a baby”. The picture created is one of deep sorrow - a situation so horrific or terrible that the man lets go of his inhibitions and breaks down in tears.
19 Analysing Similes “The house was as silent as the grave.” Analysing Imagery - SimileAnalysing Similes“The house was as silent as the grave.”With this simile, the poet gives the reader a sense of apprehension and fear. The house is described as ‘silent’ - there is a total absence of noise, just as there would be in the grave. The associations that the reader makes are creepy - we imagine dead people in a grave and ask ourselves, is there someone dead in the house as well? Or is someone or something lying in wait?
20 Analysing Similes “The tree was gnarled and bent, like an old man.” Analysing Imagery - SimileAnalysing Similes“The tree was gnarled and bent, like an old man.”This image is a curious one, and it uses personification as well as a simile to create a strong image of the tree. The reader can imagine the ancient wood, that has grown bent and gnarled over the years, just as an old man might do. The comparison gives a real sense of life to the tree. It seems old and wise.
21 Analysing Imagery - Simile Example PoemsThe poems and poetry extracts on the following slides give you a chance to look at different uses of similes, and to practise your analytical skills.As you will see, poets throughout the ages have used similes to enhance their poetry. Why not try to write your own poem using similes?When you are analysing these poems, remember to discuss:The type of image being used.Why this particular image is being used.What the effect of this image is on the reader.How the image contributes to the poem as a whole.
22 Like to Diana in her summer weed, Analysing Imagery - SimileSamelaLike to Diana in her summer weed,Girt with a crimson robe of brightest dye,Goes fair Samela.Whiter than be the flocks that straggling feed,When washed by Arethusa’s fount they lie,Is fair Samela.As fair Aurora in her morning gray,Decked with the ruddy glister of her love,Like lovely Thetis on a calmèd day,When as her brightness Neptune’s fancy move,Shines fair Samela.Her tresses gold, her eyes like glassy streams,
23 Her teeth are pearl, the breasts are ivory Of fair Samela. Analysing Imagery - SimileSamela (continued)Her teeth are pearl, the breasts are ivoryOf fair Samela.Her cheeks like rose and lily yield forth gleams,Her brows bright arches framed of ebony:Thus fair Samela.Passeth fair Venus in her bravest hue,And Juno in the show of majesty,For she’s Samela.Pallas in wit, all three, if you will view,For beauty, wit, and matchless dignity,Yield to Samela.Robert Greene ( )
24 Diaphenia, like the daffodowndilly, Analysing Imagery - SimileDiapheniaDiaphenia, like the daffodowndilly,White as the sun, fair as the lily,Heigh ho, how I do love thee!I do love thee as my lambsAre beloved of their dams;How blest were I if thou wouldst prove me!Diaphenia, like the spreading roses,That in thy sweets all sweets encloses,Fair sweet, how I do love thee!I do love thee as each flowerLoves the sun’s life-giving power,For, dead, thy breath to life might move me.
25 Diaphenia (continued) Diaphenia, like to all things blessèd, Analysing Imagery - SimileDiaphenia (continued)Diaphenia, like to all things blessèd,When all thy praises are expressèd,Dear joy, how I do love thee!As the birds do love the spring,Or the bees their careful king:Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!Henry Chettle (c )
26 My love is like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June: Analysing Imagery - SimileA Red, Red Rose(extract)My love is like a red, red roseThat’s newly sprung in June:My love is like the melodyThat’s sweetly play’d in tune.As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,So deep in love am I:And I will love thee still, my dear,Till a’ the seas gang dry.Robert Burns (c )
27 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor CONTENTSWhat is a Metaphor? SlidesAnalysing Metaphors SlidesThe Extended Metaphor SlidesExample Poems: Slide 38“My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is” Slide 39“What Thing is Love?” Slides“Spring and Fall” Slides
28 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor What is a Metaphor?Like a simile, a metaphor makes a comparison between one thing and another. However, rather than saying that something is like another, a metaphor says it actually is that thing. Some metaphors are easy to identify, whilst others are so subtle that you will need to analyse the text carefully to find them.Metaphors can create a far more powerful effect than similes, because they are so definite in their comparison. As we try to picture the image in our minds, a good metaphor makes a connection that illuminates meaning, or allows us to see something in a new way.On the next slides you will see examples of metaphors that demonstrate how they work.
29 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor What is a Metaphor?“Her face was a book, he could read her every thought and emotion.”In this example, the writer tells us that the girl’s face is a book, when clearly it is not. He develops the metaphor slightly, by using the word “read”. As you would read a book, so the man reads the girl’s face.War and Peace=
30 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor What is a Metaphor?“My love is the sunshine in my life, brightening up my day.”Here, the writer says that her love is the sunshine. Just like the sun, he makes her day brighter.=
31 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor Analysing MetaphorsWhen you are discussing metaphors, and the effects they create in poetry, you should follow the same guidelines given for similes. Describe the ‘word picture’ you see in your mind, and how the links you associate with that picture add to the poem. Here is an example:“Her face was a book, he could read her every thought and emotion.”In this metaphor, the girl’s face is described as a book, suggesting that her emotions are visible, just as print is in a book. By saying that he can ‘read’ the girl’s face, the poet strengthens the image.
32 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor Analysing MetaphorsHere are some more examples for you to practise with. Because these metaphors are taken out of context, you will need to decide on the effects that they might create within a poem:“My love is the sunshine in my life, brightening up my day.”“The cat slunk his way through the dustbins, a black panther deadly in his intentions.”“Life is a blank page, waiting for us to write on it.”
33 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor Analysing MetaphorsHere are some possible ways of analysing these metaphors. Always remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer when you are studying poetry:“My love is the sunshine in my life, brightening up my day.”In this metaphor the poet describes her love as sunshine. Just as the sun brightens the day, so her lover brings light into her life. The warmth of the sun might also be linked to the warmth that we feel when we love someone, and know that they love us too.
34 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor Analysing Metaphors“The cat slunk his way through the dustbins, a black panther deadly in his intentions.”In this metaphor, the poet creates a picture of a black cat, slinking his way through the dustbins. The cat is described as a panther, a deadly creature that hunts down its prey ruthlessly. By using this image, the poet suggests the instinctive nature of the cat, born to catch the mice and rats that lurk around the bins.
35 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor Analysing Metaphors“Life is a blank page, waiting for us to write on it.”This metaphor offers a clever description of life. It is a blank page, the poet says, that we can write on as we wish. By using this image, the poet suggests that we have power over the way that we ‘write’ our lives. It is up to us how the story turns out.
36 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor The Extended MetaphorThe extended metaphor is one that is, simply, extended. Some poems consist of one metaphor, that runs throughout the whole poem. Here is an example of how the metaphor we have seen of the girl’s face being a book might be extended:Her face was a bookHe could read her every thought and emotionAs he turned the pages with love and devotion.Her face was a novelHer story yet to be toldHe waited to hear her tale unfold.
37 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor The Extended MetaphorWhen you are identifying extended metaphors, you may find that you believe a particular image to be a metaphor, but are not completely sure. However, if you believe the poem to be an extended metaphor, and you can justify your ideas, then it is perfectly acceptable to say this.For instance, in the poem “Digging” by Ted Hughes, the poet describes his father digging in the garden, whilst he, the poet, ‘digs’ for words. This metaphor is not immediately apparent. The poet does not say “I am digging for words”. However, it is clear from the context that the literal digging his father does is being related to the digging he does for inspiration and for a way to best express himself.
38 Analysing Imagery - Metaphor Example PoemsThe poems and extracts that follow give you a chance to look at different ways that poets might use metaphors, and to practise your analytical skills.As you will see, poets throughout the ages have used metaphors to create vivid images and pictures in their poetry. When analysing these poems, remember to consider:The type of image being used. Is it an extended metaphor? Remember, this may be hard to identify.Why this particular image is being used.What the effect of this metaphor is on the reader.How the image contributes to the poem as a whole.
39 My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is (extract) My mind to me a kingdom is Analysing Imagery - MetaphorMy Mind to Me a Kingdom Is (extract)My mind to me a kingdom isSuch perfect joy therein I find,That it excels all other blissThat world affords or grows by kind.Though much I want which most would have,Yet still my mind forbids to crave.My wealth is health and perfect ease,My conscience clear my chief defence;I neither seek by bribes to please,Nor by desert to breed offence.Thus do I live, thus will I die;Would all did so, as well as I.Sir Edward Dyer ( )
40 What thing is love? for sure love is a thing. Analysing Imagery - MetaphorWhat Thing is Love?What thing is love? for sure love is a thing.It is a prick, it is a sting,It is a pretty, pretty thing;It is a fire, it is a coal,Whose flame creeps in at every hole;And as my wit doth best devise,Love’s dwelling is in ladies’ eyes;From whence do glance love’s piercing darts,That make such holes into our hearts;
41 What Thing is Love? (continued) And all the world herein accord, Analysing Imagery - MetaphorWhat Thing is Love? (continued)And all the world herein accord,Love is a great and mighty lord;And when he list to mount so high,With Venus he in heaven doth lie,And evermore hath been a god,Since Mars and she played even and odd.George Peele (c )
42 Margaret, are you grieving Over Goldengrove unleaving? Analysing Imagery - MetaphorSpring and Fallto a young childMargaret, are you grievingOver Goldengrove unleaving?Leaves, like the things of man, youWith your fresh thoughts care for, can you?Ah! as the heart grows olderIt will come to such sights colderBy and by, nor spare a sighThough worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie,And yet you will weep and know why.
43 Spring and Fall (continued) to a young child Analysing Imagery - MetaphorSpring and Fall (continued)to a young childNow no matter, child, the name:Sorrow’s springs are the same.Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressedWhat heart heard of, ghost guessed:It is the blight man was born for,It is Margaret you mourn for.Gerard Manley Hopkins ( )
45 Analysing Imagery - Alliteration What is Alliteration?Alliteration is the use of repeated consonant sounds to create a sound picture. The sounds may be repeated at the start or end of each word, or within the words themselves. Consonants are all the letters of the alphabet except vowels.Remember, it is the sound that is important, rather than the letter, because some letters or letter combinations may be different, but sound similar. For instance ‘s’ and ‘ce’ (‘miss’ and ‘nice’) might sound almost the same, although they are different letters.
46 Analysing Imagery - Alliteration What is Alliteration?Alliteration creates its effect by adding to the rhythm of the poem. Many poets will use alliteration of several different letters within a poem. If you are analysing a poem that does this, you will need to look very carefully at the way the rhythm of the poem is affected.Alliteration can suggest the object or action that it is describing through the sounds it creates. Alliteration can also affect the speed that we read a poem, or the tone that we use. Remember, poems are designed to be read aloud (or at least ‘out loud’ in your head), and alliteration can add greatly to their effect.
47 Analysing Imagery - Alliteration What is Alliteration?“The sharp stone struck the side of the girl’s head.”In this example, the sound of the stone striking the girl is created by the alliteration of the letter ‘s’. Read the sentence out loud to see the effect.sssss“The harp tone truck the ide of the girl’ head.”Ow!!!
48 Analysing Alliteration Analysing Imagery - AlliterationAnalysing AlliterationWhen you are discussing the effects that alliteration creates within a poem, you should describe how the sounds you hear add to the ‘word picture’ you see in your mind.“The sharp stone struck the side of the girl’s head.”The use of alliteration here adds greatly to the effect of the line. We see the stone being thrown, and striking the girl, but we also hear the sound that the stone might make, through the repetition of the letter ‘s’. The sharpness of this sound echoes the sharpness both of the stone, and of the cry the girl probably makes when she feels the stone hitting her.
49 Analysing Alliteration Analysing Imagery - AlliterationAnalysing AlliterationHere are some examples of alliteration for you to analyse. Remember, alliteration can be found within the words, as well as at the start of each word. Remember too, it is the sound and not the letter that counts.“The snake slithered slowly across the soft sand, hissing once as it went.”“Jane just jumped joyfully into the air.”“The bullet almost hit the terrified boy, but it just missed.
50 Analysing Alliteration Analysing Imagery - AlliterationAnalysing AlliterationHere are some possible ways of analysing the use of alliteration in the examples. Again, remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer when you are studying poetry:ssssss“The nake lithered lowly acro the oftand, hi ing on a it went.”ssscesThe use of alliteration here gives a strong image of the snake slithering. The repeated ‘s’ sounds echo both the shape of the snake itself, and the sound that the snake makes as it hisses.
51 Analysing Alliteration Analysing Imagery - AlliterationAnalysing Alliteration“ ane ust umped oyfully into the air.”JjjjHere, the use of alliteration emphasises the joy that Jane feels, and the action of jumping for joy. As we read the line out loud, the ‘j’ sound makes us almost ‘jump’ with each word. The repetition of the sound is almost like repeatedly jumping.
52 Analysing Alliteration Analysing Imagery - AlliterationAnalysing Alliterationttttt“The bulle almos hi the errified boy, bui jus missed.ttHere, alliteration echoes the way that the bullet might have sounded, had it hit the boy. The ‘t’ sound is a hard, sharp one, just as the bullet would feel sharp and painful if it had hit the boy. Because the ‘t’ sound is both at the start and end of the words, our reading of the line is slowed down. To me, this seems to echo the movies, when a bullet is fired and the action moves into slow motion.
53 Analysing Imagery - Alliteration Example PoemsThe poems and extracts that follow give you a chance to look at different ways of using alliteration. In the previous examples, the alliteration was very clear, whilst you will find that these poets use it more subtly.Think carefully about why alliteration is being used. Ask yourself:Does the sound link somehow to the image being created?How would the poem sound if I read it out loud?How does the use of alliteration affect the rhythm and flow of the poem?
54 Come to me in the silence of the night; Analysing Imagery - AlliterationEchoCome to me in the silence of the night;Come in the speaking silence of a dream;Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as brightAs sunlight on a stream;Come back in tears,O memory, hope, love of finished years.O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;Where thirsting longing eyesWatch the slow doorThat opening, letting in, lets out no more.
55 Yet come to me in dreams that I may live Analysing Imagery - AlliterationEcho (continued)Yet come to me in dreams that I may liveMy very life again though cold in death:Come back to me in dreams, that I may givePulse for pulse, breath for breath:Speak low, lean low,As long ago, my love, how long ago.Christina Georgina Rossetti ( )
56 The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: Analysing Imagery - AlliterationBlow, Bugle, BlowThe splendour falls on castle wallsAnd snowy summits old in story:The long light shakes across the lanks,And the wild cataract leaps in glory.Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,And thinner, clearer, farther going!O sweet and far from cliff and scarThe horns of Elfland faintly blowing!Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
57 Blow, Bugle, Blow (continued) O love, they die in yon rich sky, Analysing Imagery - AlliterationBlow, Bugle, Blow (continued)O love, they die in yon rich sky,They faint on hill or field or river:Our echoes roll from soul to soul,And grow for ever and for ever.Blow, bugle, blow set the wild echoes flying,And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.Alfred, Lord Tennyson ( )
58 Analysing Imagery - Assonance CONTENTSWhat is Assonance? SlidesAnalysing Assonance SlidesExample Poems: Slide 65“A Dirge” Slide 66“In the Valley of Cauteretz” Slide 67
59 Analysing Imagery - Assonance What is Assonance?Assonance is the use of repeated vowel sounds to create a sound picture. The sounds may be repeated at the start or (rarely) the end of each word, or within the words themselves. Remember, as with alliteration it is the sound that is important, rather than the letter.Assonance affects the way that a poem flows. It can suggest the object or action that it is describing through the sounds it creates. Assonance can also affect a poem’s tone.Do be careful when identifying the use of assonance - there are only five vowels, and their repetition is therefore inevitable. Only discuss assonance where the sound adds to the image being created.
60 Analysing Imagery - Assonance What is Assonance?“The plane swooped low over the open ground.”In this example, the image of the plane’s low flight is enhanced by the assonance of the letter ‘o’. Read the sentence out loud to see the effect more clearly.oooo“The plane sw ped l w ver the pen gr und.”oo
61 Analysing Imagery - Assonance Analysing AssonanceWhen you are discussing the effects that assonance creates within a poem, you should describe how the sounds you hear add to the ‘word picture’ that you see in your mind.“The plane swooped low over the open ground.”The use of assonance here makes the line ‘swoop’ when read out loud, just as the plane is swooping low over the ground, because of the rhythm created by the use of assonance. We can almost see the plane sweeping down and then up again, just missing the ground as it does so.
62 Analysing Imagery - Assonance Analysing AssonanceHere are two examples of assonance for you to analyse. Remember, assonance is often found within the words, as well as at the start or end.“The ants attacked Tania’s arm and afterwards she ached for days.”“The elephant edged ever closer to the excited men.
63 Analysing Imagery - Assonance Analysing AssonanceHere are some possible ways of analysing these examples of assonance.“The ants attacked Tania’s arm and afterwards she ached for days.”The use of assonance here gives a picture of the ants attacking the girl, and also the itching and aching that she felt. Although we hear a variety of different ‘a’ sounds here, they all give a strong, hard noise, which increases the sense of an attack.
64 Analysing Imagery - Assonance Analysing Assonance“The elephant edged ever closer to the excited men.Here, the use of assonance slows down the speed at which we read the line. As we read the line out loud, we are forced to slow down our reading, because of the stress of the ‘e’ sounds. This in turn echoes the slow speed of the elephant, moving towards the men.
65 Analysing Imagery - Assonance Example PoemsThe poems and extracts that follow give you a chance to look at the different ways poets might use assonance. In the examples we have examined, the assonance was very clear, whilst you will find that these poets use it more subtly.Notice too some other aspects of assonance:More than one vowel may be repeated to strengthen an image.Sometimes poets repeat a paired vowel sound, such as “ea” or “ai”.Assonance is often mixed with alliteration to strengthen the rhythmic effect.
66 Rough wind, that moanest loud Grief too sad for song; Analysing Imagery - AssonanceA DirgeRough wind, that moanest loudGrief too sad for song;Wild wind, when sullen cloudKnells all the night long;Sad storm whose tears are vain,Bare woods, whose branches strain,Deep caves and dreary main, -Wail, for the world’s wrong!Percy Bysshe Shelley ( )
67 In the Valley of Cauteretz Analysing Imagery - AssonanceIn the Valley of CauteretzAll along the valley, stream that flashest white,Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night,All along the valley, where thy waters flow,I walked with one I loved two and thirty years ago.All along the valley, while I walked today,The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed,Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead,And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree,The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.Alfred, Lord Tennyson ( )
69 What is Personification? Analysing Imagery - PersonificationWhat is Personification?Personification is the technique of giving human attributes to something that is not human, e.g. to an object, an animal, a place, and so on. To remember the term, simply look at how the word ‘person’ forms a part of it.Personification strengthens a description, making it more vivid and memorable. As with simile and metaphor, personification works by making a connection between two things.As with all forms of imagery, you must ensure that you comment on the effects that the use of personification creates. What does the image described seem like to you?
70 What is Personification? Analysing Imagery - PersonificationWhat is Personification?“The house sat proudly on the land, its windows were eyes watching over its kingdom.”In this example, the house is personified. Clearly, a house does not ‘sit’, nor does it feel ‘proud’, whilst a person does. The image is developed further as the windows are described as ‘eyes watching’.
71 Analysing Personification Analysing Imagery - PersonificationAnalysing PersonificationWhen you are discussing the effect of personification within a poem, you should describe how the image is strengthened by being given human attributes.“The house sat proudly on the land, its windows were eyes watching over its kingdom.”In this example, the house is described as sitting ‘proudly’. The image created by the use of personification is of an important house that has been in this location for a long time, an impression strengthened by the word “kingdom”. The house almost seems to be alive, its windows are described as “eyes watching”.
72 Analysing Personification Analysing Imagery - PersonificationAnalysing PersonificationHere are two examples of personification for you to analyse.“The pen ran quickly over her page, jumping from word to word as though rushing to finish a race.”“The sun climbed wearily into the sky, pushing its way through the black clouds and attempting to smile.”
73 Analysing Personification Analysing Imagery - PersonificationAnalysing PersonificationHere is one way that you might analyse these examples of personification.“The pen ran quickly over her page, jumping from word to word as though rushing to finish a race.”The use of personification here makes the pen seem alive, almost as though it is writing for the girl, and not the other way around. The speed at which the pen moves suggests perhaps that the girl is under pressure of time, or that she feels inspired, and wants to write as quickly as possible, so as not to lose her track.
74 Analysing Personification Analysing Imagery - PersonificationAnalysing Personification“The sun climbed wearily into the sky, pushing its way through the black clouds and attempting to smile.”Here, the sun is personified so that it appears to be very tired and perhaps unhappy. It climbs “wearily”, as though it were just getting out of bed, exhausted from lack of sleep. The “black clouds” make it harder for the sun to climb into the sky, it has to ‘push’ its way through them. The final attempt to smile suggests a weary resignation from the sun: this is its purpose in life and it must carry on, come what may.
76 Analysing Imagery - Onomatopoeia What is Onomatopoeia?Onomatopoeia is the term for those words that sound like the noise they are describing, for instance “woof”, “miaow” or “crash!” Many onomatopoeic words are associated with the sounds that animals make, or with loud noises.Onomatopoeia can have a strong impact on the sound of a poem, particularly when it is read aloud, because these are words that we tend to pronounce in a very specific way. It can also be used to make descriptions more vivid.Often, poets will use onomatopoeia in a subtle way, using alliteration and assonance to make ‘normal’ words seem onomatopoeic.
77 Analysing Imagery - Onomatopoeia What is Onomatopoeia?“With a creak and a groan, the tree toppled over, hitting the ground with a loud crash!”In this example, notice how the onomatopoeic words echo the sound of the tree being felled and crashing to the ground.CRASH!Creak!Groan!
78 Analysing Onomatopoeia Analysing Imagery - OnomatopoeiaAnalysing OnomatopoeiaWhen you are discussing the effects of onomatopoeia within a poem, you should describe how the noises the words give add to the image being created.“With a creak and a groan, the tree toppled over, hitting the ground with a loud crash!”The use of onomatopoeia here makes the image of the tree being felled much more vivid. The words “creak” and “groan” help the reader to imagine and hear the tree as it topples precariously. The word “crash” gives a strong impression of the loud noise it makes as it finally falls to the ground.
79 Analysing Onomatopoeia Analysing Imagery - OnomatopoeiaAnalysing OnomatopoeiaHere are some onomatopoeic words. Read the words out loud, listening carefully to the noises that they make. Now discuss the type of effects that these sounds could create within a piece of poetry, and what animals, characters or events you might associate them with.ActivityWOOF!OUCH!HISSsssTHUD!