A metaphor is a type of figurative language in which the writer equates one thing with a different thing. For instance, in the sentence “The bird was an arrow arcing through the sky,” the arrow is serving as a metaphor for the bird. The point of a metaphor is to encourage the reader to think about the thing being described in a different way. Using this example, we are being asked to envision the bird’s flight as being similar to the arc of an arrow, so we will imagine it to be swift, bending, etc. Metaphors are a way for the author to describe without being direct and obvious. Metaphors are a more lyrical and suggestive way of providing information. Note that the thing to which a metaphor refers will not always be mentioned explicitly by the author. For instance, consider the following description of a forest in winter: “Swaying skeletons reached for the sky and groaned as the wind blew through them.” The author is clearly using skeletons as a metaphor for leafless trees. This metaphor creates a spooky tone while inspiring the reader’s imagination.
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Last updated: 12/18/2017
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