Figurative Language in A Long Way Gone
Figurative Language • Language not meant to be taken literally • Ask yourself, is this description really true, or it used for some effect?
Simile • Comparisons of unlike things using “like” or “as” • MUST be a comparison or it is not a simile • Example: • “Their voices sounded like bees.” (p. 81) –comparing voices to the sound that bees make • “Killing had become as easy as drinking water.” – (p. 122)- “as”- comparing his feelings about violence to something that comes naturally- drinking water.
INCORRECT “Similes” “Their eyes were as red as ours.” -their eyes could literally be the same color red. Also, these are not two unlike things, they are similar. “They were city soldiers, who like the men in the truck… hadn’t been to war.” –the like here is not comparing two unlike things. It is simply saying that these men looked like the men he had seen before.
Metaphor • Comparing two unlike things without the words “like” or “as”. • Examples • “I started boiling with anger.” (p. 130) – comparing his feeling of anger to a boiling pot
INCORRECT Metaphors “I looked at the guns the MP’s carried and envied them.” (p. 130)- he literally wanted the guns, or envied them. This is not figurative. “ I could smell the forest on them.” (p. 132)- nothing is being compared; the items actually smelled like the woods or forest so it is literal.
Personification • Giving human qualities to non-human objects/figures. • Examples: • “Some nights the sky wept stars…” (p. 80) –giving the sky the ability to weep/cry • “It seemed as if the sky was telling us a story.” (p. 80)- giving the sky the ability to tell a story. • “…the flames danced in the afternoon breeze…” (p. 123)
INCORRECT Personification “As the truck slowly rocked along the busy street.” – this does not give the truck any qualities of a human, it simply describes the way it moved, like a rocking chair. “His forehead perspired profusely”- his forehead was actually perspiring (sweating) profusely, or very badly. There is no human qualities giving to a non-human thing.
Ch. 15 Assignment Find 3 examples of figurative language • Copy the sentence/example and include a page #. • Identify what type of figurative language each example is (simile, personification or metaphor) • Write an explanation (use complete sentences) that shows how this figurative language was used to enhance the story. • Why did Beah choose the figurative description instead of a literal one? • What does the figurative language add that a literal description would not have accomplished?