Vivid language that appeals to one or more of the senses
Both of these are from The Pearl by John Steinbeck:
In this example, the closely observant detail conveys the diversity of life in the seashore setting. The verb forms,“bubbled, sputtered, popped, crawling, growing, waved, swayed, clung…” give motion to the living things catalogued in the passage. They are all gentle verbs, too, which may be intended to give a feeling of tranquility.
Here, the imagery of Kino’s actions, four and a half sentences that convey Kino’s physical effort, slows down time before the key moment of the story: when Kino finds the pearl. It is a moment of change in the plot and the mood, and the first image of the pearl, “It captured light and refined it and gave it back in silver incandescence,” introduces the pearl’spower to change everything around it.
This definition from the Hunter College website (1):
Imagery: The use of pictures, description, or figures of speech such as SIMILES and METAPHORS to visualize a mood, idea, or character.
offers the important idea that similes and metaphors can be used in the creation of imagery.
by Ted Kooser
Slap of the screen door, flat knock
of my grandmother's boxy black shoes
on the wooden stoop, the hush and sweep
of her knob-kneed, cotton-aproned stride
out to the edge and then, toed in
with a furious twist and heave,
a bridge that leaps from her hot red hands
and hangs there shining for fifty years
over the mystified chickens,
over the swaying nettles, the ragweed,
the clay slope down to the creek,
over the redwing blackbirds in the tops
of the willows, a glorious rainbow
with an empty dishpan swinging at one end.
The metaphor underlined in the center of the poem describes the result of the single action of the poem: the throwing of dishwater from a dishpan into a farmyard. The entire poem is devoted to the image of this action, which is frozen, photographically, with the “bridge” of water hanging in the air.
Why the metaphor? One possible reason is that the idea of a bridge supports the idea of the image, which “hangs there shining for fifty years.” The water is in the shape of a bridge as it flies into the air, and it also is central to a memory, described in the poem, that has presumably persisted for a long time: the bridge is the curve of the water, and the bridge connects the past to the present, metaphorically, as a memory.