Use of Imagery

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Discuss the use of imagery in two stories of your choice. How do the various images work in a particular story to bring its subject matter into focus? Is there a central image? And how does this enhance or confuse or complicate the effect of the story? Short fiction can be seen as a literary medium through which the writer concisely creates a story that is almost as fleeting in its detail, as it is in its length of words. Imagery can be used in varying manners depending on what the writer is trying to achieve. In the short story ‘Sleepy’ by Anton Chekhov, we see a more vivid and palpable type of imagery that’s almost figurative and has the ability to lull the reader into sharing the protagonist’s feelings rather than just her…show more content…
Although somewhat subtle, the idea that this ball is Leila’s first seems to be the central image of the story, as Mansfield returns to it throughout the narrative. We see Leila continually informing her dance partners that “It is really the first dance I’ve ever been to” and she dwells on it obsessively; “It seemed to her that she had never known what the night was like before. Up till now it had been dark, silent […].” However even when focusing on this central image, Mansfield seems to withdraw from it and return to the dazzling settings, as though only willing to stroke the surface of this concept. Mansfield’s description throughout the narrative is intriguing and captivating, pulling the reader into the drill hall and making them sway to the “oft, melting, ravishing tune” as though they themselves could have been Leila. Moreover, her use of description allows her to create the character of the “fat man” and utilise him to portray the idea that “happiness [doesn’t] last for ever.” Because she describes him as the fat man, who is old and wearing a coat that “looked dusty with French chalk”, she creates an evident contrast between the beautiful characters she initially described. Through this imagery, Mansfield subtly portrays Leila’s fears of losing the beauty of this first ball and emphasises that in fact, beauty doesn’t last. However, Mansfield plunges the reader back in to the dance, such that the almost
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