Let’s take a look at “Root Cellar” by Theodore Roethke and examine how the poet uses imagery: Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch, Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark, Shoots dangled and drooped, Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates, Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes. —Roots ripe as old bait, Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich, Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life: Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath It’s pretty easy to see the imagery in this poem, but what is there to say other than Roethke paints a picture of a root cellar?
As you already know, poets are known for using all sorts of literary devices, including symbolism, rhyme, meter, and metaphors. Poets often use imagery to set the entire mood of the poem.
They create a feeling they wish to express and hope the reader feels it as well.
Start with the obvious: what you see when you read the poem.
Roethke creates a scene of a dark, dank, musty old root cellar. Most of the poem is dark, maybe even a bit depressing. Here are a few tips to help you analyze imagery in literature the smart way. As she approached her chair, the carton wobbled, and there was a scratching noise. That’s all well and good, but other than saying that imagery creates a visual image, what else is there to say about it?Everybody has to share a bedroom—Mama and Papa, Carlos and Kiki, me and Nenny.Here, Cisneros creates a vivid image of the house that the child narrator will soon move into.It helps readers connect with the character, learn more about the character as an individual, and learn more about the character’s role in the story.If you have a good sense of imagery but are looking for more help putting your ideas into essay format, check out these posts: Hopefully, the tips I’ve included here make you feel more confident in writing a smart analysis about imagery in literature. Look at how other students have written about imagery in literature. Once you’ve read the literature and taken notes, outline your ideas.Here are two resources to help: Analyzing imagery in prose, such as a short story or novel, is similar to analyzing imagery in poetry, but you’re working with complete sentences, paragraphs, and images built into a larger scope of a story.Often, the writers of stories and novels aren’t using imagery as the sole focus of their work, but they’re generally trying to make a point. Authors often use imagery to set the scene and help readers put themselves in the characters’ shoes.Out back is a small garage for the car we don’t own yet and a small yard that looks smaller between the two buildings on either side.There are stairs in our house, but they’re ordinary hallway stairs, and the house has only one washroom.