In the story Kaffir Boy, what imagery is used within the text? Why does the author choose to use these images?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Imagery is visually descriptive or figurative language that allows readers to more viscerally experience the book.  A frequent image throughout this book deals with hunger.  The main character is from a poor family, and he struggles to get the necessary nutritional needs.  The narrative very well could have told readers that he was hungry or even really hungry, but it doesn't quite evoke the emotional response that descriptive imagery of hunger can arouse in readers.  I like this bit of imagery from chapter 10.  

"At times it was the silent destroyer, creeping in unseen, unrecognized, except when, like a powerful time bomb, it would explode inside my guts. At other times it took the form of a dark, fanged beast, and hovered constantly over my dizzy head, as if about to pounce on me and gouge my guts out with its monstrous talons."

The above quote does a wonderful job of arousing emotions in readers through the vivid description of hunger.  In the above section, hunger isn't simply a physical signal being sent to the brain that encourages eating.  No, it is equivalent to a monster that exists to destroy a person.  The imagery in this paragraph shows readers that hunger is very much related to fear for the narrator.  

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