Imagery is one of the more common and overarching forms of figurative language found in literature. It is utilized in virtually all forms of prose and poetry, and it is at the core of one of the most often given bits of writing advice: show, don’t tell.
What exactly is imagery? You may guess it is language meant to create a picture, and it is. However, it goes beyond that. Imagery is language that evokes the senses in order to better describe a scene or a character’s experience. Most often, this is talking about the “big five” senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound.
Today’s lesson is on another common form of figurative language, the hyperbole, and a literary device that is its polar opposite, understatement. The use of either one can add humor, impact, and variety to a literary work. Authors who master the use of both develop powerful tools to add interest to their work.
We will take a look at personification today as we continue our study of figurative language. What exactly is personification?
Personification is defined as the application of human characteristics upon something nonhuman. This can be showing an inanimate object, concept, event, or animal through the use of human qualities or characteristics.
Because of its prevalence in cartoons, fables, and other children’s media, personification and its subsets are often some of the easiest forms of figurative language for many to understand. After all, how many of us grew up watching Disney films where a clock and a candlestick held conversations and argued with a teapot or the main characters were talking animals?
Two of the most basic forms of figurative language are similes and metaphors. Both are embraced by poets around the globe and throughout time. Many of the examples in today's lesson are pulled from poetry, but you can find similes and metaphors used quite often in prose as well.
I am writing about them together because they are both means of comparing one thing to another in order to better illustrate an idea. However, one major difference sets them apart.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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