Vignette (literature)

In a novel, theatrical script, screenplay, sketch stories, and poetry, a vignette (/vɪnˈjɛt/ (listen), also /vnˈ-/) 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 is a short, descriptive passage, more about evoking meaning through imagery than 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 vignettes, drawings of little vines that nineteenth-century printers used to decorate the title pages and beginnings of chapters.[2]

See also


  1. "100 Movies, 100 Theaters: Top 10 Interwoven Vignettes". Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  2. "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.
  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.

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