Literary description examples definition characteristics and types

Literary Description

The literary description or subjective description is a type of rhetorical figure or literary device that serves to represent an image with words. Describing is speaking or specifying – in a beautiful or artistic way – the characteristics, mainly of ideas and feelings but also of beings, objects, places or landscapes . It is as if it were an intense reproduction like a photograph of something specific to make it appear that that image is before us. In this article we will provide you the examples of Literary description.

Rhetorical figures are elements of language –of various types of language– also known as resources or tropes , which are used in literature and advertising, among others to express thoughts and feelings in a more elaborate and beautiful way to achieve the artistic.

There are several types of rhetorical figures, below we will see the most basic:

  1. ThinkingThis type of rhetorical device is based on the meaning of the word, sentence or phrase to give greater power to the way in which a feeling or concept is expressed.
  2. Of description . This type of figure consists of making a detailed and deep representation or description of ideas or feelings of the individual in order to make it very real or vivid, but it also refers to the description of objects, places and animals.
  3. Of significance . They are those that use words with a figurative sense to represent a concept, object or thought.

Of diction. These refer to modifying the sound or the way in which words are put together, that is, changing or playing with the syntax of words within sentences.

Characteristics of the literary description:

  • In the literary description different types of description are united : physical, mental or emotional, that of behavior and character, and so on.
  • Lets imagine what is being talked about. When it is described, almost immediately comes to mind that thing, person or place that is going to be represented by means of the words. That is, we have a mental image of what we are going to talk about.
  • It is based on observation or prior knowledge of what has been described. For something to be described, it is necessary to have seen it in the real world or also in the imaginary one; that is, having seen and observed it either concretely or metaphorically.
  • Create harmony between what is described and the way it is described . A harmony is created between what we are going to represent and the words we choose to talk about it. Not all people describe an object the same. For example, if you are trying to describe a table, someone might say that it is brown with four legs and square; someone else may describe it as a heavy object, made of black and white marble, with a crystal and a vase on top, and so on.
  • Give importance to details. It refers to the fact that in a literary description, the beauty of the details is achieved; for example, when talking about color, size, volume, shape, etc., metaphors can be used to accompany each little piece of information in the description.
  • It is used in poetry or narrative. That is, we can find descriptions both in poems and in stories, legends, novels, and so on.


The rhetorical or literary devices of description are the following:

  • The etopeia. This refers to the description of the character of a being, in terms of their attitudes and aptitudes or abilities.
  • Topography. It refers to the description of a place indicating the spatial order between objects and their extension, appearance and location.
  • The prosopography. This consists of the physical description of the external characteristics of the people; that is to say, his clothes, the profile of his face, the complexion of his body, etc. It can be a description of facial features or the entire body, and it also represents characteristics of animals or things.
  • The portrait. It refers to the description of a person or character, both its external (physical) and internal (psychological , spiritual, moral or character qualities). So, it can be said that the portrait links or mixes, in a certain way, the previous figures.

15 Examples of literary description:

  1. “Imagine the poor man already crowned by the value of his arm at least from the Trabzon empire: and thus with these so pleasant thoughts, driven by the strange taste he felt in them, he hastened to put into effect what he wanted. And the first thing he did was clean some weapons that had belonged to his great-grandparents, which, taken from rust and full of mold, had been placed and forgotten in a corner for centuries. He cleaned and dressed them as best he could; but he saw that they had a great fault, and it was that he did not have a lace headpiece, but a simple morion; but his industry made up for this, because out of cardboard he made a way of half a hatch, which, fitted with the morion, made the appearance of a whole hatch (…) ”.
  1. “The new one , who had stayed in the corner, behind the door, so that he could hardly be seen, was a country boy, about fifteen years old, and taller than any of us. His hair was cut straight across his forehead, like a village cantor, and he looked formal and very embarrassed. Although it was not broad in the shoulders, his green cloth jacket with black buttons must have bothered him at the armholes and revealed, through the turns of the cuffs, red wrists used to being uncovered. Her legs, with blue stockings, came out of yellowish pants very taut by the straps. He wore sturdy shoes that were badly polished and studded with nails ”.
  1. In the deep waters that cradle the stars,
    white and candid, Ophelia floats like a great lily,
    floats so slowly, leaning on her veils …
    when they touch to death in the distant forest.For thousands of years the pale Ophelia has
    passed, a white ghost through the great black river;
    more than a thousand years since its soft madness
    murmurs its tune in the night air ”.
  1. I am soft and sad if I idolize, I can
    lower the sky to my hand when
    the soul of another entangles my soul.down will not find any softer.
    I die on the eyes, if I feel them
    like living birds,
    wait , flutter under my white fingers.I know the phrase that enchants and understands
    and I know how to keep quiet when the
    huge red moon rises over the ravines.
  1. “Good looking, petulant, one of those who make spurs ring, with sideburns attached to his mustache, his fingers always covered with rings and dressed in bright colors, he had traces of a bully and the easy animation of a traveling salesman. Once married, he lived two or three years off his wife’s fortune, eating well, getting up late, smoking large porcelain pipes, not coming home at night until after the theater and frequenting cafes. “
  1. “The cloud is torn apart; the rainbow
    already shining in the sky,
    and in a lantern of rain
    and sun the field enveloped.
    I woke up ”
  1. “The flowery lemon grove,
    the cypress tree in the orchard,
    the green meadow, the sun, the water, the iris!
    The water in your hair! …
    And everything in the memory was lost
    like a soap bubble in the wind ”.
  1. “This extraordinary woman served a master who was her polar opposite. He lived across the street from the house; he was a silent and clean man; He was always accompanied by two large dogs; he liked to plant a lot of trees… Every day, at a fixed time, he would sit in the garden of the casino, a little sad, a little tired; then he would play a little whistle ”.
  2. “And he was such a slim
    fugitive, the one who pampers women.
    Sweet and fiery, warm like your thought,
    covering your youthful flank with its shadow
    and sloping like your eyebrows ”.
  1. “That man with a Greek profile, with subtle and discreet brown polka dots, looked around him like an eagle; with his penetrating gaze, he tried to guess every secret in the minds of passersby. That man had a sad face, a lost look of distant loves and a smile drowned out by that laugh that he could never let go of ”.
  1. “This is my city, the one you can see. So full of people awake and smiling. Full and ready to meet the heat of the suffocating sun from 7 in the morning. It is a lively city that is always filled with early screams, with music that undoes pain with harmonic sounds of babies crying and calls for attention from parents to mischievous children who laugh without restraint ”.
  1. “The cushion seems to be made of silk cloth. Its feathers must be goose, as its price was high. However, the tremendous convenience it provides is well worth it. In that old cushion two or three heads more or less fit together – if you want to think of a night of three. My grandmother bought it at the last Alameda auction, and she said she had never seen such a cushion; one that will invite you to never wake up ”.
  1. “What a rude girl she was. From that little pink mouth came insults to dogs, people and objects alike. She frowned when referring to small breed dogs, and when explaining to her parents how she liked the food for breakfast. He had no patience to deal with the adults and the elderly. With other children he was always domineering and vindictive ”.
  1. “Aunt Lula was a cultured and decent woman, with great aspirations in life. He was a person who preferred to spend a Saturday with the family near the fireplace, accompanied by all the members, with a good wine, a chocolate or a hot soup. She privileged the company and sympathy of hers to go out to meet some stranger in whom she would surely never trust.
  1. “Full of green, everything around it is oak. The garden is large and full of childhood bliss. Puppies and children run, flooding my garden with happiness and peace. Lilies, poppies, sunflowers and white roses bloom in my garden ”.

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