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What are examples of gustatory and olfactory imagery?

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What are examples of gustatory and olfactory imagery?

Gustatory and Olfactory Imagery: A Feast for the Senses

Strong imagery helps readers have a richer imaginative experience as we read. Well-written imagery can help the reader feel like he or she is truly in the action being narrated.

Answer and Explanation:

To understand this kind of imagery, it is important to understand these words. Imagery refers to an author's use of language to conjure up a strong picture, or image, of a person, object, setting, or other part of a story. Gustatory means "related to the sense of taste," while olfactory means "related to the sense of smell." It is easy to imagine how these kinds of images often go together, as smell and taste are inextricably linked.

One place in literature where these kinds of imagery are used well is in Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Here we see strong gustatory imagery:

"In his devouring mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting-pig running about with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily trussed up, with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of savory sausages..."

The story also offers olfactory imagery:

"The motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapor from the midst..."

In the following quote olfactory imagery and gustatory imagery are used well together:

"Anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields breathing the odor of the beehive, and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty slapjacks, well buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel."

In these cases, the writer uses gustatory and olfactory imagery to help the reader imagine the tastes and smells of the story.


Learn more about this topic:

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Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

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Chapter 4 / Lesson 17
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Explore symbolism and imagery in literature. Learn the definition and purpose of imagery and symbolism, read about symbolic imagery, and find examples.


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