The label “sensory images” is used to mention the wide range of representations or ideals that are related to the senses. In this way, a literary text presents a series of words that allow the reader to construct a mental image of some kind. These images can be visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory or olfactory.
All of them are used as a literary resource to provide beauty and expressiveness to a text. Advertisements also use sensory imagery to spark consumer interest.
Visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory images
Certain words allow the reader to draw a picture of reality . In this sense, one speaks of “visual poets”, the relationship between writing and the visual image or visual discourse.
Poets use word combinations with an auditory dimension to suggest some sound. Thus, if a poet talks about “the melody of the nightingale” or the “breath of the autumn wind”, the reader creates in his mind an image with a certain sound.
Through words it is possible to suggest all kinds of textures
Also, the texture of a material allows you to recreate a special tactile sensation . In this way, when one says “a soft coating” or “a cold metal” it indicates the capacity of each type of texture to suggest sensations.
The sense of smell can also be stimulated through words. In fact, many words allude to odor, such as rotten, stinky, aromatic or fragrance. Patrick Suskind ‘s novel “The Perfume: Story of a Killer” is a clear example of the close relationship between smell and speech.
In the novel “Like water for chocolate”, by Laura Esquivel, the sense of taste (taste) takes on a particular role.
The Mexican novelist refers to flavors and odors in such a way that the reader feels as if they are real. In fact, the description of food becomes a literary resource of great sensuality and beauty.
Synesthesia in literature consists of mixing different sensory images
The different sensations conveyed through the words can also be combined. When this happens, a synaesthetic metaphor occurs, such as “sweet green”, “pink caress”, “spicy red” or “soft white silence”.