Vignette is a small impressionistic scene, an example, a descriptive passage, a short essay, a fiction or nonfiction work that specialize in one particular moment; or giving an impression about an idea, person, putting, mood, aspect, or object. Vignette is neither a plot nor a complete narrative description, but a carefully crafted verbal sketch that could be a part of a few larger work, or a entire description in itself.
Literally, vignette is a French word that means “little vine.” The printers, all through the nineteenth-century, would enhance their identify pages with drawings of looping vines. Hence, the derivation of this term is that supply of drawings. Contemporary ideas from the scenes shown in tv and movie scripts also have stimulated vignettes.
Examples of Vignette in Literature
Example #1: In Our Time (By Ernest Hemingway)
“Maera lay still, his head on his arms, his face inside the sand. He felt heat and sticky from the bleeding. Each time he felt the horn coming. Sometimes the bull simplest bumped him along with his head. Once the horn went all the manner thru him and he felt it move into the sand … Maera felt the whole lot getting large and large and then smaller and smaller. Then it were given larger and larger and large after which smaller and smaller. Then the whole thing started to run quicker and faster as when they speed up a cinematograph film. Then he become dead.”
In this impressionistic sketch, the author gives an illustration of the character Maera, who's a bullfighter that dies from injures inflicted by way of a bull.
Example #2: An American Childhood (By Annie Dillard)
“Some boys taught me to play football. This changed into nice sport. You thought up a new approach for each play and whispered it to the others. You went out for a pass, fooling everyone. Best, you acquire to throw yourself mightily at someone’s strolling legs … In winter, inside the snow, there was neither baseball nor soccer, so the lads and I threw snowballs at passing cars. I were given in hassle throwing snowballs, and have seldom been happier since.”
In this excerpt, Dillard has used her private studies while growing up in Pittsburgh, and describes the character of American life. In this specific scene, she tells us how she found out to play soccer with the lads, and imparting this incident of her teenage years.
Example #3: Railroads (By E. B. White)
“The sturdy streak of insanity in railroads, which money owed for a child’s instinctive feeling for them and for a man’s unashamed devotion to them, is congenital; there appears to be no motive to fear that any demanding improvement in the railroads’ condition will set in … He gravely wrote ‘Providence’ inside the proper space, and we experienced anew the assurance that rail travel is unchanged and unchanging, and that it suits our temperament perfectly – a sprint of lunacy, a sense of detachment, not a great deal speed, and no altitude whatsoever.”
In this descriptive passage, White laments the bad condition of the passenger train industry within the nation of Main, his home country, and worries for the future. He softens his complaints by way of going into past recollections whilst he would ride as an adult.
Example #4: House on Mango Street (By Sandra Cisneros)
“Then Uncle Nacho is pulling and pulling my arm and it doesn’t remember how new the dress Mama bought is because my ft are ugly until my uncle who's a liar says, “You are the prettiest woman here, will you dance … My uncle and me bow and he walks me returned in my thick footwear to my mother who's proud to be my mother. All night the boy who is a man watches me dance. He watched me dance.”
This whole story provides us a group of vignettes. There are several passages with designated descriptions about specific ideas or characters, which include this extract illustrating a dancing scene.
Function of Vignette
We frequently locate vignettes in creative writing, because it presents description to acquire a creative effect. However, we also see its utilization in prose and poetry. Writers use this device to discover a character, and describe the setting of a scene. Vignettes deliver deeper information of texts, as writers densely % them with imagery and symbolism. Besides, it will increase writers’ language proficiency, as they use their language to its fullest through using imagery to set a certain colour and mood. Hence, the nature of vignettes is evocative and places an effect on the senses of readers.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw