Effective Use of Imagery in William Blake’s The Lamb and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings
"Sailboats as big as cruise ships/ Glide gracefully across the ocean's glassy surface."
Have you ever read a piece of literature and found it to be immensely satisfying due to the enormous amount of descriptions used by either the poet or the author? As the opening line illustrates what is happening at the beach, the reader is able to really get to know what the author is trying to explain. These descriptions are referred to as imagery. Imagery is used to give a detailed portrayal of a person, place, or thing. In the short story, "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings," by Gabriel Garcia
Marquez, and in the poem, "The Lamb
," by William Blake
, both, author and poet, use imagery to depict to their audience their own perception of an angel.
In the story, "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings," Marquez first lets the reader know that, "the fallen body with mute stupor" (828), was an angel by writing that he, "couldn't get up, impeded by his enormous wings" (828). Much of today's societies first initial thought of a man with wings are to believe that this person is an angel. People have many different beliefs of what an angel is supposed to look like. Marquez, not wanting his readers to stray away from what his own personal view of an angel in this story, uses imagery to clarify his perception of the angel. Marquez notes that the angel has an, "incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor's voice," "he was dressed like a ragpicker," "huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked," "only a few faded hairs on his bald skull and very few teeth in his mouth," and most likely the most significant, "his pitiful condition of a drenched great-grandfather had taken away any sense of grandeur he might have had" (828). Without the latter details of the "angel", the reader would have the opportunity to use whatever they tend to believe and angel is. Marquez sets up the description of the angel to enable the reader to understand why the townspeople may have treated the angel as they had, "as if he weren't a supernatural creature but a circus animal" (829).
In the poem, "The Lamb," Blake uses imagery to explain the way the, "Little Lamb" (Line 1), looks like. Not only does Blake use imagery, but he also uses the poetic device of symbolism. The "Little Lamb" of who he speaks of is a symbol of humans. In lines five through eight, Blake details the "Little Lamb," "Gave thee clothing of delight/ Softest clothing wooly bright/ Gave thee such a tender voice/ Making all the vales rejoice!" Through the imagery Blake uses, the reader will be able to tell that he is not truly talking of an animal, but of an angel. The clothing being wooly bright hints to the wings of an angel whose light is brilliant. The phrase "heavenly voice," is a phrase associated with angels and Blake uses, "tender voice," when describing the Little Lamb.
Marquez's short story and Blake's poem are similar in the fact that they use imagery to permit the reader to understand their views and to really get a sense of where they were going with their pieces. Marquez, though, gave his detail of the angel as old and dirty. These images are not much of the majority perceptions of an angel at all. On the other hand, Blake used words such as, "delight," "bright," "tender," and "rejoice," which made the poem a much more vivid color than Marquez's short story. Marquez used words, such as, "mud," "old," "chicken dung," "parasites," "ash-gray," "hell," "dirty," and "sterile hearts," which are all words filled with darkness. The imagery in which Marquez applies the words truly allows the reader to picture this place that is not delightful.
Through the images that Marquez and Blake used in their individual pieces, the reader was able to get a clear picture of what the authors were trying to represent. The reader's mind is not allowed to elaborate too much on each Marquez nor Blake's piece, making the point the author is building more attainable. Pieces of literature need things such as imagery as a way to illustrate the setting or a person. Without imagery the reader would go crazy with their own beliefs and thoughts and not truly be able to understand the outcomes of certain situations in literature.