Let’s take a look at “Root Cellar” by Theodore Roethke, where he describes a dirty, dungeon like cellar. Through most of this poem he states how bad a shape this cellar is in, but at the end explains how life will continue to live on. Roethke used a great deal of imagery to describe this disturbing place. He also incorporates a lot of similes as well. .
One aspect of imagery Roethke uses is smell. In line 4 he refers to “mildewed crates.” This is a great way to explain what it might smell like in this cellar. Everyone knows how awful mildewed smells. Roethke also states manure in this poem. This is a wonderful word to use because its real detailed. When someone uses manure to indicate smell, it’s one of the most unpleasant environment someone could be in. .
Another sound device used in this poem is simile. There are several times where Roethke uses this device. In the first line he uses “dank as a ditch.” When something is referred to as dank its cold and damp. This tells everyone how the condition this cellar is. The mildewed crates are also used in simile being compared to tropical snakes as they hang down. .
Last, there is one more form of imagery utilized in the poem. This is sight. In the second line Roethke says, “Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark.” Bulbs are underground storage organ in plants. As these storage organs are braking through boxes its searching for chinks (narrow openings). Another distinguished use of imagery in line 9. “Leaf-mold, manure, lime piled against slippery planks.” This shows small, flat pieces of wood covered with mold, manure, and lime deposits. There’s no way that Roethke could have said this any clearer, because most people know what these type of things look like.