‘Vignettes are the literary equivalent of a snapshot [photograph].’

Your vignettes assignment is due Mon., Sept. 19. 

When you think of what to include in a vignette, think of capturing the single image/moment caught by a photograph.  You are capturing that exact, precise moment … and nothing else!  You are not developing a plot; rather, you are delving into a brief moment in time.  Sandra Cisneros uses vignettes in The House on Mango Street.

Characteristics of Vignettes:

1.  ‘Show Not Tell’


            Telling: The room was vacant.

            Showing: The door opened with a resounding echo that seemed to fill the house. Cob webs once attached flowed freely in the air as the open door brought light to a well worn floor. The light gave notice to the peeling paint on the walls and to the silhouettes once covered by pictures. The new air gave life to a stuffiness that entrapped the room. Faded and torn white sheets covered once new furniture now drowning in dust.

2.  Metaphor

            Definition:  Comparison of two things, not using like or as

            Example:  Charles is such a pig!

3.  Simile

            Definition:  Comparison of two things, using like or as

            Example:  His temper was as explosive as a volcano.

 4.  Personification

            Definition: giving human traits (qualities, feelings, action, or characteristics) to             non-living objects (things, colors, qualities, or ideas)

            Example: The large rock refused to budge.

5.  Alliteration

            Definition:  repetition of the initial consonant; usually at least twice

            Example:  The rats rummaged through the raisins ravenously.

6.  Repetition

            Definition:  repeating a word or phrase for emphasis

7.  Sensory Details

            Definition:  sight, sound, smell, taste, touch

            Example:  (sound)  The music was very loud at the rock concert last night.

My ears are still ringing today because the music was very loud at the rock concert last night.

8.  ‘Show Not Tell’ with Figurative Language


            Telling: It was foggy.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
- excerpt from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot

Julie Ann Jacobs,
Sep 5, 2011, 4:52 PM
Julie Ann Jacobs,
Sep 5, 2011, 4:56 PM