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Imagery and Tone Analysis
Andrew Kokanoutranon

Imagery and Tone

Imagery A
Consider:
The many men, so beautiful
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.
--- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Discuss:
1. These stanzas from the “the Rime of the Ancient Mariner” show the Mariner’s changing attitude toward the creatures of the sea. What is the Marine’s attitude in the first stanza? What image reveals this attitude?

In the first stanza, the Mariner refers to the men as “beautifu.” He uses the visual and tactile image of “thousand slimy things” to describe the monsters. The image of the “slimy” monster suggests a creature that is frightening, disgusting, and horrific.

2. What is the Mariner’s attitude in the second stanza? Analyze the imagery that reveals this change.

The Mariner’s attitude changes to one of awe and fascination in the second stanza. Visual images such as “rich attire,” “coiled and swam,” and “flash of golden fire” demonstrates that fact that the speaker has now turned his attention away from the dead men and noticed the fascination beauty of the sea monsters.

Imagery B
Consider: And now nothing but drums, a battery of drums, the conga drums jamming out, in a descarga, and the drummers lifting their heads and shaking under some kind of spell. There’s rain drums, like pitter-patter but a hundred times faster, and then slamming-the-door-drums and dropping-the-bucket drums, kicking-the-car-fender-drums. Then circus drums, then coconuts falling-out-of-the-trees-and-thumping-against-the-ground drums, then lion-skin drums, then the wacking-of-a-hand-against-a-wall-drums, the-beating-of-a-pillow-drums, heavy-stones-against-a-wall-drums, then the thickest-forest-tree-trunks-pounding-drums, and then the-mountain-rumble-drums, then the little-birds-learning-to-fly drums and the big-birds-alighting-on-a-rooftop-and-fanning-their-immense-wings drums…
- Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love



Discuss:
Read the passage. How does Hujuelos create the auditory imagery of drumming? In other words, how do the words imitate the sounds they represent?

Hijuelos create the auditory imagery of drumming by describing sounds of every day objects being played as drums such as “the wacking-of-a-hand-against-a-wall-drums” and “little-birds-learning-to-fly drums.” The words imitate the sound by creating an image and sound in our heads.

Hujuelos repeats the word then eight times in the passage. What does this repetition contribute to the auditory image of the drumming?

The word “then” is used many times in passage because he wants it to represent the beating of drums through out the paragraph. When one sound ends another one starts. Hujuelos wants to create a constant beat as you read the paragraph.

Imagery C
Consider: She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up for an instant, then sank again. Edna heard her father’s voice and her sister Margaret’s. She heard the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree. The spurs of the cavalry officer clanged as he walked across the porch. There was the hum of bees, and the musky odor of pinks filled the air.
Discuss:
1. Although the narrator “looks into the distance,” the images are primarily auditory. What are the auditory images in the passage? What mood do these images create?

Auditory images and sounds such as “her father’s voice and her sister Margaret’s,” “the spurs of the cavalry officer clanged,” “hum of bees,” create the mood of the passage. The mood of this passage is going from frightened and scared to clam and tranquil.

2. The last sentence of this passage contains an olfactory image (the musky odor of pinks full the air). What effect does the use of an olfactory image, after the series of auditory images, have on the reader?

The olfactory image of “musky odor of pinks” give the reader a sense of relaxation and peace. The auditory images gave off a sense of fright.

Imagery D
Consider: It was a mine town, uranium most recently. Dust devils whirled sand off the mountains. Even after the heaviest of rains, the water seeped back into the ground, between stones, and the earth was parched again.
Discuss:
1.) What feelings do you associate with images of dusty mountains and dry earth?

Barren and abandonment are two feelings that I associate with images of dusty mountains and dry earth. The writer tries to create a sense of abandonment and dissertation by using images associated with the desert and being in the middle of no where.

2.) These are two images associated with land in the third sentence. Identify the two images and compare and contrast the feelings these images evoke.

The image “even after the heaviest of rains, the water seeped back into the ground” and “the earth was parched again,” are the two images used associated with land. The first image is about the storm and rain that filled the mine town and the second image is about the rain drying up. The storm gives off an eerie and cold feeling, and the image of the grounds drying up gives off a sense of warmth and becoming normal again.

Imagery E
Consider:
A woman drew her long black hair out tight
And fiddled whisper music on those strings
And bats with baby faces in the violet light
Whistled, and beat their wings
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
And upside down in air were towers
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells

Discuss:
1.) Paraphrase the image of the first two lines. What mood does the image create?

The mood created in the first two lines gives off a sense of adventure and going into the unknown. The image creates a spooky and mysterious thought, the women seems to be finding the undiscovered.

2.) List the auditory images in these lines. How do these images help create the mood of the passage?

“Whistled, and beat their wings” and “Tolling reminiscent bells that kept the hours” are two auditory images in the paraphrase. The images help create a mood by adding more effects such as sound into our minds. We can picture the eerie feeling of tolling bells in a dark and unknown place.

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