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Metaphors and Similes
Transcript of Metaphors and Similes
A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses comparison of seemingly unlike things, or substituting one for another, so suggest some similarity between them.
It is used to make writing more imaginative, thought provoking and meaningful.
A figure of speech where two fundamentally unlike things are explicitly compared, usually in a phrase introduced by "like" or "as".
Similes are used in a similar way as metaphors, with the purpose of comparing an abstract idea to something the reader can understand and visualize, but similes are more direct and concise comparisons while metaphors tend to be less directly stated and often times are more extended.
"Professions for Women" by Virginia Woolf
"You have won rooms of your own in the house hitherto exclusively owned by men. You are able, though not without great labour and effort, to pay the rent...But this freedom is only a beginning — the room is your own, but it is still bare. It has to be furnished; it has to be decorated; it has to be shared. How are you going to furnish it, how are you going to decorate it? With whom are you going to share it, and upon what terms?
Excerpt from "On Being a Cripple" by Nancy Mairs
"So many movements unbalanced me, and as I pulled the door open I fell over backward, landing fully clothed on the toilet seat with my legs splayed in front of me: the old beetle-on-its-back routine."
Excerpt from "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K.Rowling
""A rotting, glistening hand, slithering back beneath a black cloak...a long, rattling breath from an unseen mouth...then a cold so penetrating it felt like drowning."
Woolf, Virginia. "Professions for Women." The Death of the Moth, and other essays, by Virginia Woolf. Web. 8 Sept. 2013. <http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/woolf/virginia/w91d/ chapter27.html>.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Vancouver: Raincoast, 1999. Print.
This metaphor is used by the speaker to describe her experience as somewhat sarcastic and playful, since she is portraying herself as a beetle, which is relatively childish. It helps the audience understand the speaker's ownership and acceptance of her disease.
The audience being a group of women in 1931, the extended metaphor describes the "rooms" in the "house" as the rights that women have gained in the male dominated world and how they have the opportunity to take action. This metaphor is effective in making the audience of women understand all their possibilities in professions and different aspects of their life. Creates a vivid image that is inspiring to her audience.
The terror that Harry Potter felt when he saw the Dementor was strongly conveyed throughout the simile. A drowning person is horrified and helpless, and the image of drowning in freezing water is especially compelling and effective. Rowling's choice of comparison creates a terrifying image that chills the reader to the bone.
Miars, Nancy. "On Being a Cripple." 1986. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. By Samuel Cohen. 2nd ed.
Bedford/St.Martin's, 2007. 267-79. PDF file.
An author can also use a metaphor to liken a concept that may be foreign to the reader to an idea or visual that the reader easily understands.
A metaphor can also be used to help the reader visualize an idea
Excerpt from "Letting Go" by David Sedaris
"Once, I drove an embroidery needle into my mother's pack of Winston's, over and over, as if it were a voodoo doll."
This simile allows the reader to picture a violent puncturing motion while also subtlety conveying the speaker's attitude towards cigarettes. Voodoo dolls are generally thought to be something negative, almost evil, and this simile reinforces the idea that cigarettes are a negative thing and also creates the image of an angry poking motion.
Excerpt from "The Death of a Moth" by Virginia Woolf
The rooks too were keeping one of their annual festivities; soaring round the vast tree tops until it looked as if a vast net with thousands of black knots had been cast up into the air"
The purpose of this simile is to create an image in the mind of the reader. Many readers have probably never seen thousands of rooks flying through the sky, but Woolf uses an understandable comparison that allows the reader to visualize what she is saying
Sedaris, David. “Letting Go.” The New Yorker. N.p., 5 May 2008. Web. 27 Aug. 2013.
Woolf, Virginia. “The Death of the Moth.” The Death of the Moth, and Other Essays, by Virginia Woolf. Ed. Steve Thomas. eBooks, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2013.
Excerpt from "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith
This metaphor is an extended comparison likening the forces in a marketo an "invisible hand.
This metaphor allows readers to understand a complex and intimidating topic to an image that can be easily understood by all.
Smith, Adam. "The Wealth of Nations." Mentheun and Co, 1904. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. <http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN.html>.
By: Nicol Tugarinov and Chopper Carter-Schelp