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4.3. Make it Strange and New – Figurative Language and Metaphor. Figurative Language: Metaphor. Figurative language: language that moves beyond literal meaning and requires imagination to understand Metaphor: most common form of figurative language. Simile.

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figurative language metaphor
Figurative Language: Metaphor
  • Figurative language: language that moves beyond literal meaning and requires imagination to understand
  • Metaphor: most common form of figurative language
  • Commonly used type of figurative language.
  • Highly effective way to make meaningful comparisons.
  • Compares two things using the words like or as to introduce the comparison
  • Examples:
    • Your heart is like a summer sky
    • He was as calm as a sleeping baby
using similes
Using Similes
  • Simile should be surprising and help reader’s mind focus on the image as something new and interesting
  • Reshape the following sentences into similes:
    • That dog is filthy!
    • There is no way I’m jumping out of this plane.
    • I hate that guy! He always picks on me.
metaphor in action
Metaphor in Action
  • Metaphor- comes from the Greek word- metapherein which means “to transfer”.
  • Somewhat similar to similes.
    • Example: “That guy is a fox in a henhouse.”
    • Notice the affect when you change your comparison by taking out the “like” or “as”
    • “That guy is a fox in a henhouse” vs. “That guy is like a fox in a henhouse”. What’s the difference? What image seems more crisp?
levels of metaphor
Levels of Metaphor
  • Metaphor can be simply constructed by removing the words “like” or “as” from a simile:
    • Changing the simile- “The sun is like a golden bird” to “The sun is a golden bird”
  • Metaphor can relate two things by using the word “of” to show that one is made of or extremely similar to the other:
    • The golden bird of sun
  • Metaphor can be expressed as an implication by saying one thing but expecting that the reader will see it as a metaphor for something else:
    • At dawn the golden bird flew
  • A writer can also utilize an extended metaphor in which two things are further compared:
    • A yellow bird settles onto the horizon, ruffling its feathers of fire before sinking into the sea”
implied metaphor
Implied Metaphor
  • Metaphor of implication: a metaphor that can be difficult to identify as a metaphor at all
  • Try to identify the metaphor and ask what Clifton might be comparing or trying to suggest in the following poem:
    • “I was leaving my fifty-eighth yearwhen a thumb of icestamped itself hard near my heart.”
    • (response on next slide)
implied metaphor1
Implied Metaphor
  • “Thumb of Ice”
    • Represents a painful pressure and chill
    • We can feel the pain because the expression of this emotional sensation seems physical
metaphor and abstract idea
Metaphor and Abstract Idea
  • Metaphors can help you express emotions in poetry by connecting abstract feeling with vivid and concrete imagery.
  • Think of some concrete images that might help you express common feelings or emotions…..
    • Anger (“anger is a swirling red cape”)
    • Heartbreak
    • Wonder
    • Love
    • Fear
dickinson metaphor
Dickinson Metaphor

Hope is the Thing with Feathers” (Emily Dickinson)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers-That perches in the soul-And sings the tune without words-And never stops- at all-

And sweetest- in the Gale- is heardAnd sore must be the stormThat couple abash the little BirdThat kept so many warm

I’ve heard it in the chillest land-And on the strangest SeaYet- never- in extremity,It asked a crumb- of me.

  • What kind of metaphor is used in this poem, and what is being compared?
  • What images seem the strongest in the poem?
  • What is the poem trying to say about hope? What’s the message you get after reading it?
dickinson metaphor cont d
Dickinson Metaphor (cont’d)
  • What kind of metaphor is used in the poem, and what is being compared?
    • This poem relies on extended metaphor, claiming hope is like a bird and then describing all the things about a bird that are also so similar to how hope works.
  • What images seem the strongest in the poem?
    • Storm imagery most intense, or maybe the “strangest sea”.
  • What is the poem trying to say about hope? What’s the message you get after reading it?
    • The poem makes a point that hope exists in adversity, even thrives in it, and doesn’t cost anything.
    • Do you think Dickinson’s message is made more interesting by metaphor?
metaphor poem
Metaphor Poem
  • Attempt to write your own metaphorical poem that threads metaphor throughout.
    • Focus on making a metaphor (s) that will stick in someone’s mind; remember that metaphors that link to sensory details are usually effective.
avoid clich
Avoid Cliché
  • Cliché: A phrase, image, or idea that has become “worn out” or no longer meaningful because it has been overused.
  • Avoid choosing words, images, or phrases simply because you’ve seen or heard them used before. Think of new ways to say what you want to say.
  • Metaphor and simile grab the reader’s attention and help make an image new and strange when it may otherwise seem mundane
  • Extended metaphors compare two things and then build on this relationship or explore many facets of the correlation beyond the initial image (sometimes for an entire poem)
  • Like metaphor, simile also compares two things but always with a comparison word such as like or as
  • Switching from a metaphor to a simile (or vice versa) may sometimes change the tone of the comparison
4 3 3 personification and synesthesia
4.3.3 Personification and Synesthesia
  • Personification: giving human characteristics to animals or inanimate objects
  • Personification can be used to describe inanimate objects and animals, but also to give human characteristics to ideas and abstract terms like, “love” or “hope”.
the voice of things
The Voice of Things
  • Using personification gives writers the capacity to imbue any object with human emotion and create sympathy with the reader.
  • When you’re writing your own personifications, consider what your emotions might really be if you were that object. Use your imagination but also your empathy- try to really understand what the object is “feeling” from its perspective!
  • Whatever you are personifying, try to immerse yourself in its experience.
close reading
Close Reading

“Spring Pools” by Robert Frost

These pools that, though in forests, still reflectThe total sky almost without defect,And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,And yet not out by any brook or river,But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.The trees that have it in their pent-up budsTo darken nature and be summer woods-Let them think twice before they use their powersTo blot out and drink up and sweep awayThese flowery waters and these watery flowersFrom snow that melted only yesterday

  • What personification did you notice in this poem?
  • What might these personifications might say about the forest or the people in the forest?
  • Which personification or image in this poem was particularly interesting to you?
if feelings were people
If Feelings were People
  • Personification can also take the form of giving human qualities to abstract concepts or emotions
  • Some societies use personification in their myths and popular culture to help explain the complexities of the natural world. For instance, the ancient Greeks and Roman Gods act and interact in a humanlike way, but they also represent the entity they rule over.
    • Poseidon, the god of the sea, acts as a personification of the sea itself- brooding, quiet, and powerful.
  • Modern writers use personification on a smaller scale but still find it useful to express abstract things.
writing with personification
Writing with Personification
  • Choose a nonhuman object and use personification to write about it. Focus on characteristics that seem to give the object new meaning.
  • Synesthesia: the application of language normally used to describe one sense (sight, smell, and so on) to a different sense
    • Example: The apple tasted like a crisp blue sky
  • Two senses are being used together or mixed up.
    • What sense is evoked when you say someone’s tone is “icy” ?
      • This description has become so common we almost never stop to picture the image or realize that sound is being described with temperature.