Monday, August 31: Imagery

1.Students read and annotated an excerpt from this New York Times article about the power of description to trick our brains: “Your Brain on Fiction” from the New York Times.

2. Students then answered the question in their notebooks, How does our brain respond to sensory description as we read? The answer we discussed — your brain actually tricks itself into firing the same synapses it would if you were actually smelling, tasting, or touching something.

4. We took some notes on imagery here on W2: Imagery. First, we learned a catchy little tune to help students remember that imagery is more than images. It goes to the tune of “Jingle Bells”:

Im-a-gery, Im-a-gery:

taste, touch, hear, smell, see.

When you use description,

my five senses you must please!

Then, we reviewed setting, which is time and place. We explored the different times of a story (season, day/night, hour, day of the week, era, decade, time period, century) and the different kinds of places (specific location, country, room, alternate dimension). Students came up with how they might hint at the setting by using imagery.

5. Applying imagery. We reviewed some vocabulary words in an example of well-written imagery. Here’s the passage we used from Sue William Silverman’s book Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir:

Drowsy, I recline on the terraço of a friend’s villa in Sintra, Portugal. Across the valley is another villa, owned by the Rothschilds, and beyond that, the Atlantic Ocean, currents flowing from the Gulf of Cádiz, azure and hot. I am writing an aerogram, the paper supported by a book, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. Beside my lounge an oval table holds a pitcher of ice water. Slices of lemon circle a tray. I place a slice in a goblet, fill it with water, and sip. From the valley rise the spicy scents of eucalyptus and olive, lupine and poppy. Cerise bougainvillea etches whitewashed walls. I drift in sun, in shade from cork trees, sun and shade, pages of the book and the aerogram fluttering against my fingertips.

HW: None. Vocab association words for #1-2 due Wednesday.