An example of imagery in chapter 5 is the description of the pink shirt.
Imagery is descriptive language that helps the reader form a picture or image in his or her mind. In chapter 5, the use of imagery to describe the pink shirt is an excellent example of how the imagery can contribute to the meaning of the story.
Its high, somewhat stiff collar against my neck, the wide cuffs touching my wrists, the rich material against my skin excited a sense of strangeness and distinction; I felt like some nobleman, some Spanish grandee. (Ch. 5)
Gene begins by saying that while Phineas makes fun of Gene’s clothing, he also wears it and forgets who is who. He chooses the pink shirt because it represents luxury, and Phineas’s carefree attitude. There is sensory imagery of many kinds here. We have the color of the shirt, the stiffness of the collar, the wide cuffs, and the rich material. Gene associates the shirt with Phineas’s superiority, and even though Phineas is hurt, Gene is still lurking in his shadow.
The exclusivity and rarity of the pink shirt is a perfect symbol for the life Gene wants to have, and his jealousy of Phineas. Gene acted on the jealousy, and now he is hoping to reap the benefits. Taking the shirt is just the first step.