What is the Definition of Metaphor?


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Metaphor


A metaphor is a type of figurative language, by which the author equates one thing with that of something else. This sentence says, “The bird was an arrow arcing through the sky. Here, the bird wasn’t actually an arrow. Instead, the author is saying the bird is like an arrow arcing through the sky. This is a way for the author to get to think about the bird in a different way and to equate it with an arrow making an arc through the sky.


This is a way for the author to describe the bird in more detail without being direct and obvious. The author could say, “The bird swiftly flew through the air and bent through the air, making a big arc.” That’s not very interesting. That doesn’t evoke emotion on the part of the reader. Instead, in this case, the author chose to use a metaphor, saying, “The bird was an arrow arcing through the sky.”


Because of that, the reader can conclude that the bird must have flown swiftly and then bent through the sky, maybe going up and then coming back down. Sometimes, authors use metaphors, but they don’t directly tell you what they are talking about. Here, we knew that the author was talking about a bird. Look at this sentence: “Swaying skeletons reach for the sky and groaned as the wind blew through them. Here, we don’t know exactly what the author is talking about, but we can infer that the author is talking about trees.


It would make sense that trees would sway back and forth, and that maybe at this point it’s in the winter and that the trees don’t have any limbs, so it’s just like the skeleton of a tree and it’s swaying back and forth. That would make sense here. Sometimes it’s a little bit difficult to figure out exactly what the author is talking about. In this case, it wasn’t. Nevertheless, this is another example of a metaphor, where the author is comparing the trees to skeletons.


That allows the reader to look at the trees from a different perspective. Now, we’re thinking about trees as big skeletons swaying back and forth and groaning. That’s a way for the author to give us a different perspective about these trees without being really direct and obvious. Just to review: A metaphor is a type of figurative language, by which the author equates one thing to that of something else.



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Last updated: 07/11/2018
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