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Imagery: Purpose, Importance and Types with Examples

Class 8
Jun 12, 2023



Identify the type of Imagery used in the following description.

Description: That Saturday night was black as never before, but many bright stars lit up the sky in the most beautiful and varied constellations which were sprinkled across the astronomical landscape.

Here is the answer!!!

The type of imagery used in the above description is visual.


In the above description, the Saturday night sky is described in-depth with color (black as never before, bright), shape (varied constellations), and pattern (sprinkled).

Note: Visual imagery includes color, size, shape, and pattern.

First, let us know what is meant by imagery.

Imagery is spread throughout literature in poems, plays, stories, novels, and other creative compositions. The vivid description used by the writer, which appeals to readers’ senses, to create an image or idea in their head is called imagery. Imagery is a literary device used in various writings like poetry, novels, and other forms of writing.

The Purpose of Imagery:

Imagery immerses readers more deeply by appealing to their senses and can improve a reader’s experience of the text.


Imagery in writing through vivid descriptions aims at a reader’s sense of taste, smell, touch, hearing, or sight.

Let us now discuss the different types of imagery using examples:

The Seven Types of Imagery are:

  1. Visual
  2. Auditory
  3. Olfactory
  4. Gustatory
  5. Tactile
  6. Organic
  7. Kinesthetic

1. Visual Imagery

A visual image is when a poet or author represents something through sight.  The most frequently used is this type of imagery which describes the world and characters of a novel or poem and creates more interest in the minds of the readers.

Imagery Using Visuals:


The Saturday night was black as ever, but bright stars lit up the sky in the most beautiful and varied constellations that sprinkled around the astronomical sphere.

In this example, the experience of the Saturday in the following manner:

The night sky – is in-depth with color (black as ever, bright), shape (varied constellations), and pattern (sprinkled).

2. Auditory Image

The next type of imagery we will discuss is auditory imagery.

The reader’s sense of hearing is appealed to by auditory images. Creating an auditory experience through text is difficult. An auditory image that occurs when something is represented through sound is quite significant in a story or a plot.

Imagery Using Sounds:

Example: The silence of the piano keys is broken by the peal of piano keys as Shannon began practicing for her concert.

3. Olfactory Image

When a poet or author represents smells, this imagery helps summon and deliver familiar scents to the reader.

Olfactory imagery is the best way to describe what a character is experiencing in a novel, poem, or other writing.

Example: The smell of fresh rain, smoke from a fire, or gasoline can be described through olfactory Imagery.

Imagery Using Scent:

Example: Susan smelled the scent of sweet hibiscus wafting through the air, its tropical smell a reminder that Susan was on tour of such a marvelous site.

The scent of hibiscus helps describe a scene that is relaxing, warm, and welcoming.

4. Gustatory Image

A gustatory image is the representation of a taste.

In this type of imagery, the tastes of food or many other items are illustrated and recreated. The reader is immersed further into a character’s simple action of eating by describing food as sweet, salty, or even spicy Gustatory imagery can also describe unpleasant tastes as well.


The candy chocolate melted in her mouth and swirls of bittersweet chocolate and slightly sweet but salty caramel blended together on her tongue.

Through this in-depth description of the candy’s various flavors, the reader can almost experience the deliciousness directly.

5. Tactile Image

The representation of touch is described as a tactile image.

The attributes like hardness, softness, hot & cold sensations; texture-type words are presented to appeal to the sense of touch.

6. Organic Image

An organic image is the description and representation of an internal sensation.

Examples: hunger, thirst, pain, longing, regret, etc.

7. Kinesthetic Image

The most primitive sensations that human experiences such as hunger, fatigue, fear, and even emotion is represented by the kinesthetic image.

The description of the emotions of a sorrowful character or desperate character is a major difficult task.

As a matter of fact, a kinesthetic image is a representation of physical movement.

Let us discuss in detail using more examples:

Visual Imagery

Visual imagery represents what we see. It may be comic book images, paintings, or images directly experienced through the narrator’s eyes.

Visual imagery includes the following:

  • Color of different shades like full burnt red, complete bright orange, pale dull yellow, lush green, etc.
  • Shapes of squares, circular cylinders, tubular, rectangular plates and conical – cone.
  • Sizes such as very huge, very tiny, small, medium-sized, large, and immense.
  • Pattern related to polka-dotted, striped, zig-zagged, jagged, and straight.

Auditory Imagery

From music and noise to pure silence, all included in Auditory Imagery

It may be the enjoyable sounds of melodious music, birdsong, and the voices of a beautiful chorus.

Examples of noises are the sound of a gun and the shattering of the glass.

The lack of noise can be the description of peaceful, calm, or eerie silence.

Olfactory Imagery

The smell is described by olfactory imagery.

Examples of olfactory images are as follows:

  • The fragrances, perfumes from enticing food and drinks, and blooming of beautiful flowers, etc.
  • Odors related to rotting trash, body odors, or a stinky wet dog.

Gustatory Imagery

The sense of taste is gustatory imagery.

It includes:

  • The sweetness of candies, cookies, and desserts.
  • Sourness, bitterness, and tartness of lemons and limes.
  • The saltiness from pretzels, French fries, and pepperonis.
  • Spiciness of salsas and curries.

Tactile Imagery

What we feel or touch is tactile imagery.


  • Temperature: bitter cold, humidity, mildness, and stifling heat.
  • The texture of rough, ragged, seamless, and smooth.
  • Touch of hand-holding, one’s feet in the grass, or the feeling of starched fabric on one’s skin, etc.
  • Movement related to burning muscles from exertion, swimming in cold water, or kicking a soccer ball.

The Importance of Using Imagery:

  • The experience of life through the senses.
  • A strong composition is appealed to through imagery.
  • Allows readers to directly sympathize with characters and narrators as they imagine having the same sensory experiences.
  • Imagery commonly helps build compelling poetry, convincing narratives, vivid plays, well-designed film sets, and descriptive songs.


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