Tactile Imagery Examples

Tactile Imagery

"Imagery" is the use of descriptive and detailed language to create a mental image in the mind of a reader. The word "tactile" means that something is able to be touched. When writers use tactile imagery, they are describing something by focusing on the aspects that the reader could feel, or touch.

Tactile imagery can focus on the following things that a reader could feel: temperature (hot, cold), textures (rough, smooth), feelings of touch (sticky, prickly), or the feeling of movement (punching a bag, slipping and falling).

Examples of Tactile Imagery:

As the quarterback skidded down onto the ground, the grass prickled his skin and small gravel embedded itself into his arm.

The bitter cold wind took my breath away as I stepped outside from the cozy warmth of home.

Examples of Tactile Imagery from Literature

Robert Frost uses tactile imagery in these lines from "After Apple Picking":

My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.

Reginald Shepherd uses tactile imagery in these lines from "To Be Free":

It's winter in my body all year long, I wake up
with music pouring from my skin
, morning
burning behind closed blinds. Dead
light, dead warmth on dead skin

cells, the sky is wrong
again. Hope clings to me like damp
sheets, lies to my skin. As if I were a coat
wearing my bare body out on loan,

accumulated layers of mistake
and identity, never mine.

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