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  1. 1. Another Reading Skill for DifficultLiterary TextsMETAPHORS Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 1
  2. 2. What are Metaphors? Metaphors equate two dissimilar concepts, objects or images. Today we take metaphor to mean “a comparison made by referring one thing to another” . Metaphors are figures of speech in which a name, descriptive word, or phrase is grafted onto an object or action different from, but analogous to, the original name, descriptive word, or phrase. Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 2
  3. 3. Examples of Metaphors His face was a blue moon pocked with craters. Her eyes were darting searchlights, scanning the room for her rival. His teeth were hardened blue cheese nuggets, speckled with green and blue. When he ate, he was a crocodile, opening wide and snapping his jaws suddenly for the kill. Her purse was a soft-sided trash bin, filled to the top with bits of used tissues, crumpled papers, and a half-eaten apple. Her house was a wild circus act, decked out in hot pink and lavender, coated with green dots. She was a walking color wheel, always wearing just about every shade possible, all at once. He was a stainless steel ruler, tall, straight and always measured in response. Her hair was a fierce lions mane, never washed and sticking out in wild directions. Her elderly fingers were thin gnarled branches, twisting oddly from the stem of her palm Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 3
  4. 4. Metaphors in The Iliad Don’t try to cut any deals with me, Hector. Do lions make peace treaties with men? Do wolves and lambs agree to get along? No, they hate each other to the core. And that is how it is between you and me. Dr ("Living the Dream") Book 22 “Mystic daughter of Zeus, that bloated tick (Aphrodite) is leading Ares out of battle. Get on her!” (Book 21) But his mother did not tell him now of this great evil, his dearest friend dead. (Book 17) They are defended by me, by Hector, by my horses and my spear. I am the one, Troy’s best, who keeps their doom at bay.” (Book 16) Around her shoulders she flung the tasseled aegis, bordered with Rout, and inset with the blood-chilling horrors of war. (Book 5) You sorry, profiteering excuse for a commander! (Book 1) Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 4
  5. 5. Similes are NOT Metaphors Similes use “like” and “as” to create a comparison. There are lots of similes in the Iliad. Similes can be beautiful and useful. Metaphors are a stronger form of comparison, perhaps the strongest. Example: Similes are scotch tape, but metaphors are duct tape. The writer must choose the level of strength he/she wants to use. Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 5
  6. 6. Extended Metaphors They go beyond what is written. They mean to make a larger comparison, often for life itself. These are common in literature, film, television, music and other art forms. Examples: Pink Floyd’s The Wall—likening the life of a rock star to hell on earth Robert Frost’s poem—”The Road Not Taken”- the road is a metaphor for choice and destiny The TV show Breaking Bad—using the average man in a criminal world—a metaphor of survival and surprises—think of how successful this ordinary man is in the dark world of drugs William Shakespeare “All the world’s a stage and the men are merely players.” The film The Dark Knight—a metaphor for urban existence Any art form that explores a larger concept is using metaphor. Eminem uses metaphor in his recent works-Relapse and Recovery The Iliad uses war as a metaphor for meaning—life isn’t life without war, even though it kills and destroys. The film, The Matrix, uses machines to show control over human life with humans unaware of their own domination The film, The Hurt Locker, uses war as a metaphor for drugs and addiction. The book, Achilles in Vietnam, uses Achilles as a metaphor for PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, in Vietnam veterans. The book, Odysseus in America, uses Odysseus’ long journey home as a metaphor for the unwelcome reception of the Vietnam veteran in America. He is a stranger in the land that he thought he was fighting for. Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 6
  7. 7. More Examples from the TV Show, House1. Lies are like children: hard work, but theyre worth it because the future depends on them.2. Dr. House: Nothing matters. Were all just cockroaches, wild beasts dying on the river bank. Nothing we do has any lasting meaning. 3. Dr. House: If youre unhappy on the plane, jump out of it. Thats the problem with metaphors. They need interpretation. Jumping out of the plane is stupid. 4. Dr. House: Thats the other problem with metaphors. Yes, what if youre actually in an ice cream truck, and outside are candy and flowers and virgins? Youre on a plane! Were all on planes. Life is dangerous and complicated, and its a long way down. Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 7
  8. 8. The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I marked the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Bertolino--Reading Skills--Mosaic 852 8