Throughout the story, Marquez allows the reader to envision his world. He first describes the dead man as having the shape of a sperm whale, which gives an idea of how large the man actually is. The narrator claims that even the house which they brought the dead man to was too small for him. The village is described as being “made up of only twenty-odd house that had stone courtyards with no flowers and which were spread about on the end of a desert like a cape” (1). The village overlooks a cliff and the plot of land over the cliff is very small. Imagery aids in observing the changes brought upon the village as a cause of the discover of the handsome man. The desolate and plain village transforms into a livelier, brighter one. “Everything would be different from then on… their house would have wider doors, higher ceilings, and stronger floors… they were going to paint their house fronts gay colors… and they were going to break their backs digging for springs among the stones and planting flowers on the cliffs” (3).
Imagery serves to create a sense of reality in the reader’s mind; an entire world. Marquez’s creation of the village and use of vivid images enables the reader to believe the words. The reader pictures the village, the twenty few houses lined up , its people–the women walking “about like startled hens, pecking with the sea charms on their breasts” (3)–the handsome dead man’s magnificent size and beauty–up to the countenance in his lifeless face.
Marquez utilizes other types of imagery in his short story as well such as olfactory and auditory images. The narrator describes the dead man of smelling like the sea; the reader is reminded of seaweed, salt, and brine. The abundance of flowers on the cliff creates such a strong smell that it attracts travellers at sea. The wind whistles, the sirens cry and a captain speaks in fourteen languages.