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Imagery is one of the most commonly used and most effective literary techniques to really transport the reader into the story. As a result, it is common for teachers to assign students to write essays on imagery to be sure they understand this important concept. To begin writing an essay on imagery, it is first necessary to identify the examples of imagery in the story. Then, start considering the bigger picture; beyond the image itself, what could the author be trying to convey? It might be a symbolic image, or one meant to conjure up feelings related to something else in the text.
Identifying imagery can be difficult at first, but with practice it will become easier. When writing an essay on imagery, and trying to locate the examples of imagery in the story, it helps to consider the different possible types. Visual imagery is the most common, in which an author will describe how something looks, often making use of metaphor and simile. However, imagery can be used with any of the other four senses, including touch, smell, taste, and hearing. If an author takes the time to describe the way something smells, or the sound it makes, chances are it is an important part of imagery for the story.
Making notes and creating a type of outline of the imagery found throughout the story can be a great place to begin writing the essay. It can also make it easier to identify patterns. If a certain image is seen over and over again, this is a great place to focus to consider what the author meant by it. Even if images are not repeated, it is still necessary to look deeper; don't simply describe the images, but consider what they might mean on a deeper level.
A certain repeated image could represent the mood or personality of a character, for example. It might represent certain religious symbolism, or be indicative of a larger, theoretical idea. Though it may seem like too simple of an idea, it is also very helpful to consider other major aspects of the story, like plot and theme, when writing an essay on imagery. The theme of a book or short story is often repeated, over and over again, in the imagery used throughout. Asking these types of questions will generally make it easier to develop a thesis statement, which will help to guide the writing of the rest of the essay on imagery.