Home Random Page



Forms of imagery

Imagery is simply descriptive language that evokes sensory experience, it can appeal to any of the five senses.

Visual imagery is perhaps the most frequently used form.

· My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. (W.Shakespeare)

Auditory imagery represents a sound.

· The bells chimed 2 o'clock.

Olfactory imagery represents a smell.

· His socks, still soaked with sweat from Tuesday's P.E. class, filled the classroom with an aroma akin to that of salty, week-old, rotting fish.

· The mosquito patch, when squeezed, releases a pleasant fragrance that repels mosquitoes and other flying insects for hours and hours.

Gustatory imagery represents a taste.

· The sweet marinara sauce makes up for the bland sea-shell pasta beneath.

· Tumbling through the ocean water after being overtaken by the monstrous wave; I unintentionally took a gulp of the briny, bitter liquid causing me to cough and gag.

Tactile imagery represents touch.

· The spongy soufflé was a pleasure to squeeze.

· The Play-Doh oozed between Jeremy's fingers as he let out a squeal of pure glee.

Imagery can be showcased in many forms, such as metaphors and similes.

As imagery is the category of which all images, as varied and lively as they are, fall into, it is best defined as the total sensory suggestion of fiction.

"Imagery" refers to any sort of image, and there are two basic kinds. One is the images of the physical setting. The other kind is images as figures of speech, such as metaphors. These figures of speech extend the imaginative range, the complexity and comprehensibility of the subject. They can be very brief, a word or two, a glistening fragment of insight, a chance connection sparked into a blaze (warming or destroying) of understanding; or they can be extended analogies.

In a literary work images form a system which comprises a hierarchy of images beginning with micro-images formed by a word/word combination and ending with synthetic images or “extended images” formed by the whole literary work. In literature, great attention is paid to human characters (character-images), but there are also landscape-images (“My Heart’s in the Highlands” by R.Burns), animal images (“The Jungle Book” by R.Kipling).

Character-images are both real and unreal. They are real in the sense that they can be visualized, you can see them act, you can hear them talk. They are unreal in the sense that they are imaginary.

According to the specific way they are presented in a story, characters are divided into major and minor. Let’s start with major characters.

The protagonist or main character is the central figure of a story.

A protagonist (from the Greek πρωταγωνιστής protagonistes, "one who plays the first part, chief actor") is the main character (the central or primary personal figure) of a literary, theatrical, cinematic narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to share the most empathy.

The terms protagonist, main character and hero are variously defined and, depending on the source, may denote different concepts. In fiction, the story of the protagonist may be told from the perspective of a different character (who may also, but not necessarily, be the narrator).

The protagonist is also characterized by his/her ability to change or evolve. Although a novel may center around the actions of another character, it is the dynamic character that typically allows the novel to progress in a manner that is conductive to the thesis of the work and earns the respect or attention of the audience. In some stories, there can be more than one protagonist; this ‘ensemble’ cast is popular in television stories.

In an ancient Greek drama, the protagonist was the leading actor and as such there could only be one protagonist in a play. However the word has been used in the plural to mean ‘important actors’ or ‘principal characters’ since at least 1671 when John Dryden wrote “Tis charg’d upon me that I make debauch’d persons… my protagonists, or the chief persons of the drama”.

It should be pointed out, the protagonist is not always the hero of the story. Many authors have chosen to unfold a story from the point of view of a character who, while not central to the action of the story, is in a position to comment upon it. However, it is most common for the story to be “about” the protagonist; even if the protagonist’s actions are not heroic, they are nonetheless usually vital to the progress of the story. Neither should the protagonist be confused with the narrator, they may be the same, but even a first-person narrator need not be the protagonist, as they may simply be recalling the event while not living through it as the audience is.

Sometimes, a work will initially highlight a particular character, as though they were the protagonist, and then unexpectedly dispose of that character as a dramatic device. Such character is called a false protagonist.

When the work contains subplots, these may have different protagonists from the main plot. In some novels, the protagonists may be impossible to identify, because multiple plots in the novel do not permit clear identification of one as the main plot, such as in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle, depicting a variety of characters imprisoned and living in a gulag camp, or in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, depicting 15 major characters involved or affected by a war.

A foil is a person who contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight various features of the main character's personality: to throw the character of the protagonist into sharper focus. A foil usually has some important characteristics in common with the other character, such as, frequently, superficial traits or personal history.

An antagonist (from Greek ἀνταγωνιστής – antagonistes, "opponent, competitor, rival") is a character or group of characters, or, sometimes, an institution of a story who represents the opposition against which the heroes and/or protagonists must contend. Another definition: “Antagonist is the character, force, or collection of forces in fiction or drama that opposes the protagonist and gives rise to the conflict of the story; an opponent of the protagonist”. E.g.: Claudius in Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”.

In the classic style of story wherein the action consists of a hero fighting a villain, the two can be regarded as protagonist and antagonist, respectively. However, authors have often created more complex situations. In some instances, the story is told from the villain’s point of view.

Although the antagonist often acts against the protagonist, he/she does not have to be a villain, he/she can just be the character acting against the protagonist.

More often, stories simply do not have characters that are readily identifiable as most heroic or villainous. Instead, the antagonist becomes that character, group, or sometimes force which provides the chief obstruction to the protagonist or “main character” of the story. Note that the antagonist is not necessarily human; often, the forces of nature or psychological elements provide this element of opposition.

The protagonist-antagonist relationship is also sometimes ambiguous.

An encyclopedic definition of “hero” is as follows (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary): 1. a) a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability; b) an illustrious warrior; c) a man admired for his achievements and qualities; d) one that shows great courage 2. a) the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work; b) the central figure in an event or period.

A hero usually fulfils the definitions of what is considered good and noble in the originating culture. Some scholars place the willingness to sacrifice the self for the greater good as the most important defining characteristic of a hero.

As a term in literature studies it has come to denote the central character (masculine or feminine) in a work. It is mainly the character who is the focus of interest. A hero traditionally has positive qualities such as high ethical standards, commitment to duty, perseverance, and courage. Cf., protagonist is a neutral term denoting simply the main character of a work.

Many writers now consider hero, long restricted to men in the sense “a person noted for courageous action”, to be a gender-neutral term. It is used to refer to admired women as well as men in respected publications. The word heroine is still useful, however, in referring to the principal female character of a fictional work. E.g. Jane Eyre is a well-known literary heroine.

Sometimes a person may achieve a high enough status to become courageous in people’s minds. This often leads to a rapid growth of myths around the person in question often attributing him or her with extraordinary powers.

Some social commentators prescribe the need for heroes in times of social upheaval or national self-doubt, seeing a requirement for virtuous models, especially for the young. Such myth-making may have worked better in the past: current trends may confuse heroes and their hero-worship with the cult or mere celebrity.

Anti-hero is a protagonist who has the opposite of most of the traditional attributes of a hero.

In literature and film, an anti-hero has widely come to mean a fictional character who has some characteristics that are antithetical to those of the traditional hero.

The concept of anti-hero has been changing over the time. Nowadays the definition and understanding of this concept is almost completely different from what it used to be some time ago.

By 1992 the American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language defined an anti-hero only as “a main character in a dramatic or narrative work who is characterized by lack of traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism or courage,” not as a person who nevertheless performs heroic acts. Even the more recent Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, of 2004, says: “anti-hero: a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities.” The original meaning, therefore, is that of a protagonist who is ineffectual and hapless, rather than resolute and determined, whether his motives are good or bad.

Thus, anti-heroes can be awkward, bewildered, ineffectual, deluded, antisocial, alienated, cruel, obnoxious, passive, obtuse, merely pathetic or just ordinary. In other words, an anti-hero is a protagonist that lives by the guidance of his/her own moral compass, striving to define and construe his/her own values as opposed to those recognized by the society in which he/she lives. Additionally, the work may depict how his/her character alters over time, either leading to punishment, un-heroic success, or redemption.

Often what anti-heroes learn, if they learn anything at all, is that the world isolates them in an existence devoid of God and absolute values.

A narrator is, within any story (literary work, movie, play, verbal account, etc.), the person who conveys the story to the audience. When the narrator is also a character within the story, he or she is sometimes known as the viewpoint character. The narrator is one of three entities responsible for story-telling of any kind. The others are the author and the reader or audience when referring specifically to cinema or theatre.

The author and the reader both inhabit the real world. It is the author's function to create the universe, people, and events within the story. It is the reader's function to understand and interpret the story. The narrator exists within the world of the story (and only there — although in non-fiction the narrator and the author can share the same persona, since the real world and the world of the story may be the same) and presents it in a way the reader can comprehend.

All the other characters are considered to be minor.

Characterization analysis investigates the ways and means of creating the personality traits of fictional characters. The basic analytical question is, who (subject) characterizes whom (object) as being what (as having which properties).

Characterization analysis focuses on three basic parameters: 1) narratorial vs. figural characterization (identity of characterizing subject: narrator or character?); 2) explicit vs. implicit characterization (are the personality traits attributed in words, or are they implied by somebody's behavior?); 3) self-characterization (auto-characterization) vs. altero-characterization (does the characterizing subject characterize himself/herself or somebody else?).

In figural characterization, the characterizing subject is a character. On the level of explicit characterization, a character either characterizes him- or herself, or some other character. The reliability or credibility of a character's judgment largely depends on pragmatic circumstances: 1) àuto-characterization is often marked by face- or image-saving strategies, wishful thinking; 2) àltero-characterization is often heavily influenced by social hierarchies.

An explicit characterization is a verbal statement that ostensibly attributes (i.e., is both meant to and understood to attribute) a trait or property to a character who may be either the speaker him- or herself (auto-characterization), or some other character (altero-characterization). Usually, an explicit characterization consists of descriptive statements (particularly, sentences using be or have as verbs) which identify, categorize, individualize, and evaluate a person. Characterizing judgments can refer to external, internal, or habitual traits – "John has blue eyes, is a good-hearted fellow, and smokes a pipe". Note that while an 'explicit' characterization is a verbal characterization, the expressions used may be quite vague, allusive, or even elliptical (as in "he is not a person you'd want to associate with").

An implicit characterization is a (usually unintentional) auto-characterization in which somebody's physical appearance or behavior is indicative of a characteristic trait. X characterizes him- or herself by behaving or speaking in a certain manner. Nonverbal behavior (what a character does) may characterize somebody as, for instance, a fine football player, a good conversationalist, a coward, or a homosexual, while verbal behavior (the way a character speaks, or what a character says in a certain situation) may characterize somebody as, for instance, having a certain educational background (jargon, slang, dialect), as belonging to a certain class of people (sociolect), or as being truthful, evasive, ill-mannered, etc. Characters are also implicitly characterized by their clothing, their physical appearance (e.g., a hunchback) and their chosen environment (e.g., their rooms, their pet dogs, their cars).


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1009

<== previous page | next page ==>
System of Literary Images | Narration in Fiction
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2023 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.008 sec.)