Imagery has to do with phrases, references, or figurative language that uses one or more of the fives senses. The creation of imagery happens when an author uses the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, or sound to describe something. The following example from the first vignette mentions at least two of these senses:
"It's small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in" (4).
Notice that this passage has visual images: small, red, tight steps, bricks crumbling, and a swollen door. Next, it shows the sense of touch with words such as "push hard," and "holding their breath." One might identify with how it feels to push hard to open an old door, or to hold one's breath, for example.
Another example of the use of imagery can bee seen in the following passage:
". . . and nobody looked up not once the day Angel Vargas learned to fly and dropped from the sky like a sugar donut, just like a falling star, and exploded down to earth without even an 'Oh'" (30).
The senses of sight, sound, and taste can be found in this quote. Words such as "sugar donut" and "falling star" can both be visualized. The sugar donut can be tasted; however, since a donut is also easily broken, the image shows that it is fragile to the touch. Then because the falling star "exploded," the sense of hearing can be employed.
One final example of a passage that uses imagery is one that focuses on Esperanza's blind aunt.
"My aunt was blind by then. She never saw the dirty dishes in the sink. She couldn't see the ceilings dusty with flies, the ugly maroon walls, the bottles and sticky spoons. I can't forget the smell. Like sticky capsules filled with jelly. My aunt, a little oyster, a little piece of meat on an open shell for us to look at" (60).
Many people can identify with having dirty dishes in a sink. Readers can also visualize what flies on ceilings might look like, so visual images are strong in this passage. It might also be easy to imagine what maroon walls, bottles, and sticky spoons lying around the house look and smell like. Esperanza describes the smell of the apartment like "capsules filled with jelly," which smell may or may not be easy to imagine based on one's personal experience. However, the rest of the description of her aunt describes her as little as an oyster, and maybe only as significant as a tiny "piece of meat." Readers can visualize what an oyster in its shell looks like and apply it to how Esperanza's aunt appears to be and act like. Anyone who has eaten oysters might also apply the sense of taste when reading this description, too. Therefore, there are many visual images to ponder in this passage. The senses of smell and taste coincide with the descriptions of the objects in the apartment as well.