Examples of imagery

February 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

The language of imagery in the hands of good writers:

E L Konigsburg  in  Chapter 7 of The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: . . .why don’t you find out instead of arguing about it now?” Claudia’s whisper began to sound like cold water hitting a hot frying pan.

Paula Fox in The Slave Dancer:

At first the wind had been a tight fist, shoving us on, but now it was an open hand pushing us on before it at such a rousing clip I felt my own arms had become wings as we flew across the water. (The ‘Moonlight’ section)

Hours past with nothing to mark them until in the east the sky paled ever so faintly as though a drop of daylight had touched the black.  (The ‘Moonlight’ section)

The truth came slowly like a story told by people interrupting each other.  (The ‘Shrouds’ section)

Margaret Mahy:

‘ . . .a stormy coastline where waves crashing on the rocks sent up great swirls of salt water and foam, briefly embroidering the grey air with lace and pearls.’ (Chapter 7, The Haunting )

These were true things, Laura knew, but they were only part of the truth which was something less orderly than Kate made it sound. Some parts of the full, disorderly truth were lodged in Kate and Laura like splinters of corroding steel. Their feelings had grown around the sharp, wounding edges which didn’t hurt any more but were still there, fossils of pain laid down in the mixed up strata of memory. (The Changeover)

Her skin was stitched and seamed with thin red lines, scratches from briars and from the lines of her own blows severing the briars.  (The Changeover)

Everything was velvety with dust.  (Chapter Thirteen, The Underrunners)

He swung the barrel of the gun towards Winola, not really aiming at her, using it almost like a teacher might use a pointing finger to single someone out.  (Chapter Thirteen, The Underrunners)

Orson walked across the room and through the hall door. Winola watched him, looking as sharp as if she were at the start of a race waiting for someone to say, ‘On your marks!’  (Chapter Thirteen, The Underrunners)

Glancing to the left as he crossed the street, Ellis saw the city council had installed new street lamps since he had last walked that way. Retreating, like precisely spaced blooms in a park garden, they rose on long green stems which curved elegantly at the top, then blossomed into hoods of deep crimson. (Chapter One, 24 Hours)

Street lights looked down at him from long, slender necks of concrete, curving over at the top as if light were too great a burden to be held. (Chapter Two, Memory)

The ironing board was covered with a blanket and sheet, and all over the surface of the sheet, sometimes going right through the blanket to the metal beneath, were black triangular tracks. Electricity, given more freedom than it should have had, had left a dangerous trail in Sophie’s laundry. The iron itself stood precariously at the end of the ironing board in the place provided. It was still plugged in and switched on, but it was covered with a sort of burnt toffee that suggested it was quite cold. The cord was frayed, and where it entered its plug, Jonny glimpsed the bright tinsel of fine wire. (Chapter Six, Memory)

Her long, tangled hair still scribbled down her shoulders like the hair of the past Bonny . .   (Chapter Twelve, Memory)

From Jan Mark’s Trouble Half-way:

The gloves [rubber gloves] were too large and the water clamped them hotly against her fingers. It was as if some creature had been lurking in the bowl, under the bubbles, and grabbed her hands in a toothless mouth.  (Chapter Three)

Amy moved up to an empty chair where Derek had sat and rubbed a bald patch in the furry steam on the window pane. (Chapter Eight)

Nella Larsen’s  Passing:

What small breeze there was seemed like the breath of a flame fanned by slow bellows. (Part One, ‘Encounter’)

. . .in rooms whose atmosphere would be so thick and hot that every breath would be like breathing soup.  (Part One, ‘Encounter’)

And that little straightening motion of the shoulders. Hadn’t it been like a man drawing himself up to receive a blow? Her fright was like a scarlet spear of terror leaping at her heart.  (Part Three, ‘Finale’)

Yes, life went on exactly as before. It was only she that had changed. Knowing, stumbling on this thing, had changed her. It was as if in a house long dim, a match had been struck, showing ghastly shapes where had been only blurred shadows. (Part Three, ‘Finale’)

But beating against the walled prison of Irene’s thoughts was the shunned fancy that, though absent, Clare Kendry was still present, that she was close. (Part Three, ‘Finale’)

‘To Florida’ by Robert Sampson (Hard Boiled an Anthology of American Crime Fiction):

‘She [Sue Ann] stared at him and it was like looking into a long tunnel with a fire burning in it, far back.’ Sue Ann is just beginning to discovering the terrible things that Jerry, her boyfriend, is capable of.


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