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Topic for discussion: Week 2

"Imagery" is language that appeals to the senses. Here's an example, from Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan:

Grace Blanket sat up in bed and put out the lamp. It smoked a little, and she smelled the kerosene. She climbed out from between her damp sheets. Standing in her thin nightdress, buried up to her dark ankles in the wild iris leaves that year after year invaded her garden, Grace bent over her sleeping daughter and shook the girl's shoulder.

This passage appeals to the senses of sight, smell, and touch. Share some examples of imagery from Alice Munro's short story "Chance." What effect does imagery have on you, the reader?


One of the most memorable descriptions Alice Munro portrays in "Chance" is when she describes the differnce between suberbea and counrtyside living. Juliet is traveling from Vancouver to Whale Bay. We experice the shifting landscape through Juleit eyes, as she looks back on the fading suberea to the prosepect of the countryside. She recounts her past surroundings as square lawns and gardens, with all the houses perfectly nestle in a row. The school were she taught was sheltered and civilzed, built with all the modern conviences. But the senery begins to change as she travels; the lawns become real forest, not just parks with small forested areas. She sees a dark green blanket occasionally smogded by "a trail of smoke from some damp and battered looking litle house, with a yard fullof firewoo, lumber and tires, cars and parts of cars, broken or usable bikes, toys, all the things that have to sit outside when people are lacking garages or basements"(50). From Juliet's comparison of these two surroundings, I can picture exactly what she is seeing. Alice Munro relates her senary to something that the reader has most likely witnessed before to set a new tone in Juleit's life. The conversion of a structured, monotoned lifestyle to an unknown dark green forest of opportunity uses the forshadowing of changing senory to signify a changing Juliet.

"Chance" is filled with descriptive words that appeal to the sense's. Choosing a specific example became difficult because the story is littered with them, where every sentence exemplifies imagery in one way or another. When Juliet "pursued" Eric to find out who the man was that was hit by the train, the sentence appeals to a feeling of anxiety. In the next sentence,"The space was full of sudden noise, the clanking of heavy wheels on the rails", appeals to being in the train with them and hearing their surroundings. As a reader, the imagery that she expresses makes me feel as if I am there, the story becomes more real.

One example of imagery from the story is when Juliet was locating the Big Dipper. Alice Munro wrote indeed the night was clear. There was no moon-at least not yet-and the stars appeared in dense thickers, both faint and bright. With the description of the sky I could feel like I was there looking at the night sky. Through out the stroy there were many parts where she wrote makes me feel like I was there. I think that is very interesting as a reader.

An example of imagery in the story is in the letter Juliet writes to her parents. She describes the town where the trained stopped as "...painted Dreary Railway Red." Juliet describes that she was feeling "freezing to death." She also says that the train passed a curve and then there was a sudden thump. The imagery in her letter allows the reader to feel as if they were in her situation and could feel and see what she did. The way she describes the dreary red town and feeling as if she was freezing to death are ironic because of the event that had occurred.

"anonymous" raises some interesting points, especially about the irony of Juliet's word choice to her parents. Great use of your literary terms! :-)

Also, not only does Munro use imagery in this piece, but has her main character use it in a letter. Good catch.

As illuminated by the other commenters on this blog, there are multiple examples of Murno's use of imagery in her writing style. Yet another example of detailed imagery is on page 73 of the text when Murno describes Whale Bay for the first time:
"A long dock, a number of large boats, a gas station and store that has a sign in the window saying that it is also the bus stop and the Post Office."
This sentance is quite indicative of Murno's style. The prose is sparse, there are no grandiose metaphors or floral sentence arrangements, just crystal clear prose that vividly and absolutely sets the scene and gives the reader an immediate sense of Whale Bay and its small town-ness.

Munro uses imagery many times in her stories. One of my favorite descriptions is of the old man. "the Skin of his face all rather lumpy, thickend like the surface of sour milk" It really puts one in the place of Juliet, sitting rather uncomfortable in this train compartment, trying to be polite, yet wanting this man to leave her alone.

This imagery keeps myself, as the reader interested in the story. JK Rowling (author of Harry Potter Series) is another author that uses imagery very well.

Just something I thought I would throw in there.

One of the first paragraphs that stood out to me as being full of imagery begins on page 51 and continues into page 52. Munro takes this time to describe the differences between rocks, trees, flowing streams and frozen lakes. The colors, other than evergreen trees, are mainly white, gray and black. All of this description might not be necessary to advance the story but paints a clear picture of the dreary day her trip began.

Munro is a very descriptive writer and uses a lot of imagery. The part in "Chance" which I could very much imagine was when Juliet was looking out of the window while on the train, and Munro described how the snow covered the rocks and trees. Imagery has an effect on everybody, because each person immediately tries to imagine/make an image in their head of what the author is describing. Whenever I read a piece which is very descriptive, I usually try to connect it to something I've seen before which is very similar. This helps me a lot because it helps me get an image of what is going on, and where it is.

As other people have said I believe Alice Munro utilizes imagery in a way that pulls the reader in; to help the reader feel, think and experience the story just as the character is. Imagery, I believe, creates a bond between story and reader.

One of my favorite parts in "Chance" was, on Pg. 59, when the train leaves the station cutting off the fresh air, giving the sense of enclosement agian and monotony, but then there is the sudden movement of the train. The short paragraph on how the train stops is very realistic and makes the reader feel like they are experiencing this "abrupt stop."
The end of that sentences makes me think of the momement of silence after the train stopped and what feelings the passengers were having. It parallels with the intake of breath before a catastrophe (like the screeching stop of a car to avoid an accident) and that relieving sigh after that moment.
Imagery is what pulls me into the story, entrancing me.

I feel that the one major turn off for reading is not being able to actually see or hear the text and the scenarios of what's going on. With imagery, it makes the text come to life. With the use of descriptive imagery, the reader can actually envision the situation, almost smell what exactly the reader wants you to smell. In the story "Chance," Alice Munro makes the reader feel as if they are riding on the train and looking out the window. "The rocks were large, sometimes jutting out, sometimes smoothed like boulders, dark gray or quite black. The trees were mostly greens, pine or spruce or cedar. The spruce trees-black spruce-had what looked like little extra trees, miniatrues of themselves, stuck right on top. The trees that were not evergreens were spindly and bare...some of them had spotty trunks..." (52-3). She goes on for about two paragraphs just describing the trees and rocks she sees outside the window in order to give the reader the actual image the character is seeing. When she describes the man who later throws himself in front of the train, he is described to every minute detail. She describes his outfit..."tassled loafters, tan slacks, tan and brown checked jacket with pencil lines of Maroon..." (55). To the skin on his face being "rather lumpy, thickened like the surface of sour milk" (55). The readers can think of what sour milk looks like and picture his skin being chunky and bubbly. She really draws in the reader by her use of imagery.