Vignette (literature)

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For other uses, see Vignette (disambiguation).

In a novel, theatrical script, screenplay, sketch stories, and poetry, a vignette is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or character and gives a trenchant impression about that character, an idea, setting, and/or object.[1] It's a short, descriptive passage that's more about evoking meaning through imagery than it is about plot.[2][3]

A blog or web series can also provide a form of vignette or be presented as a series of vignettes.[4] An example of this is the critically acclaimed web series High Maintenance, which presents a different set of characters in each episode, focusing intensely on their specific traits, ideas, and worlds.[5][6][7][8]

Vignettes are more commonly used and have been particularly influential in the development of the contemporary notions of a scene as shown in postmodern theater, film and television, where less emphasis is placed on adhering to the conventions of traditional structure and story development. It is also a part of something bigger than itself: for example, a vignette about a house belonging to a collection of vignettes or a whole story, such as The House On Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros.[9]


The word vignette means "little vine" in French,[10] and the name of the literary form comes from the drawings of little vines that nineteenth-century printers used to decorate the title pages and beginnings of chapters.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "100 Movies, 100 Theaters: Top 10 Interwoven Vignettes". Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  2. ^ a b "The House on Mango Street Writing Style". Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  3. ^ "vignette Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary". Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  4. ^ "Vignette in Literature". Writing in Wonderland. Blogspot. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  5. ^ "High Maintenance". Entertainment Weekly's Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  6. ^ Baca, Ricardo; Staff, The Cannabist. "Five must-reads celebrating the return of series 'High Maintenance'". The Cannabist. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  7. ^ "Despite The Dope, 'High Maintenance' Is About More Than Potheads". Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  8. ^ Huet, Ellen. "Vimeo Takes A Bet On 'High Maintenance' As Its First Original Series". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  9. ^ Cisneros, Sandra (1991-04-03). The House on Mango Street (Reissue ed.). Vintage. ISBN 9780679734772. 
  10. ^ "Definition of VIGNETTE". Retrieved 2016-04-18.