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ENGL 102. Figurative Language: Simile and Metaphor. Figurative Language:.

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Engl 102

ENGL 102

Figurative Language:

Simile and Metaphor

Figurative language
Figurative Language:

  • The use of words outside their literal, or usual, meanings. Language which makes use of “figures of speech,” most of which are techniques for comparing dissimilar objects, to achieve effects beyond the range of literal language. These devices are by no means limited to poetry; everyone uses them to add color and intensity to his speech.

Literal language vs figurative language
Literal Language vs. Figurative Language

  • She has a pink-and-white complexion.

  • There is a garden in her face.

    where roses and lilies grow;

Figures of speech
Figures of Speech:

The various elements of figurative language are called figures of speech. The most commonly used figures of speech are simile, metaphor, and personification.


An expressed comparison between two unlike objects, usually using like or as. ‘Tom is as ugly as Bill’ is a simple comparison but ‘Tom is as ugly as sin’ is a simile.

Examples for simile
Examples for Simile

  • My heart is like a singing bird

    Whose nest is in a water’d shoot

    Christina Rossetti, “A Birthday”

  • Fair as a star, when only one

    Is shining in the sky.

    William Wordsworth,

    “She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways”

Do not confuse similes with literal comparisons
Do not confuse similes with literal comparisons!

  • She looks like her mother.

  • He writes as well as a professional writer.

A red red rose robert burns

O my luve's like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June.

O my Luve's like the melodie

That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,

And fare thee weel awhile!

And I will come again, my luve,

Though it were ten thousand mile.


A Red, Red RoseRobert Burns

Autumn t e hulme
AutumnT. E. Hulme

A touch of cold in the Autumn night –I walked abroadAnd saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedgeLike a red-faced farmer.I did not stop to speak, but nodded,And round about were the wistful stars With white faces like town children.


A figure of speech in which two unlike objects are compared by identification or by the substitution of one for the other.

Examples for metaphor
Examples for Metaphor

The Night is a Big Black Cat

The Night is a Big Black cat

The Moon is her topaz eye,

Stars are the mice she hunts at night.

In the field of the sultry sky.

G. Orr Clark

Examples for metaphor1
Examples for Metaphor

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the


William Shakespeare

Macbeth, Act Five, Scene Five

Blizzard emily hearn
Blizzard Emily Hearn

The biggest flakes I’ve ever seen

Are blowing white chrysanthemums,

Whirling in a wild ballet.

Pine trees sway from tangles roots,

The wild wind shrills its horns and flutes.

Nobody walks the streets today,

We’re inside, watching the outside play.

Above the dock t e hulme
Above the DockT.E. Hulme

Above the Dock

Above the quiet dock in mid night,

Tangled in the tall mast’s corded height,

Hangs the moon. What seemed so far away

Is but a child’s balloon, forgotten after play.

Example for a controlling metaphor marks linda pastan
Example for a Controlling Metaphor:MarksLinda Pastan

My husband gives me an Afor last night's supper, an incomplete for my ironing, a B plus in bed.My son says I am average, an average mother, but ifI put my mind to itI could improve.My daughter believes in Pass/Fail and tells meI pass. Wait 'til they learnI'm dropping out. 1978

Forgotten dreams edward silvera
Forgotten DreamsEdward Silvera

The soft gray hands of sleep

Toiled all night long

To spin a beautiful garment

Of dreams:

At dawn

The little task was done.


The garb so deftly spun

Was only a heap

Of raveled thread –

A vague remembrance

In my head.

Egg linda pastan
EggLinda Pastan

In this kingdom

the sun never sets;

under the pale oval

of the sky

there seems no way in

or out,

and though there is a sea here

there is no tide.

For the egg itself

is a moon

glowing faintly

in the galaxy of the barn,

safe but for the spoon’s

ominous thunder,

the first delicate crack

of lightning.

Engl 102
Sonnet 73: That time of year thou mayst in me beholdWilliam Shakespeare(Example for an Extended Metaphor)

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou seest the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the death-bed whereon it must expire

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.