Looking for some metaphore examples? Oh, sorry. I mean examples of metaphors? Well let’s start with “Your speling stinks.”
Now, this is a common enough statement. You could hear this any day of the week. However, is it really a true statement?
How could spelling possibly stink?
Spelling is an action not a thing. Garbage can stink. Your feet can stink. But spelling cannot actually stink.
This Is The Power Of Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary device that says something is not only like something else, but actually is something else.
If we say that “John is like a pig” that is one thing.
But, if we say “John is a pig”, as common a statement as that may be, it is much more emotionally powerful.
More Metaphore Examples: The Metamorphosis
In The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka the main character wakes up one day to discover that he has become an enormous insect.
This is, in fact what a metaphor is, when one thing actually becomes another.
This metaphor powerfully portrays the character’s feelings about himself within the context of his family.
This is a much more powerful statement than if the character told a story about how the circumstances of his life made him feel like a bug. Don’t you think?
More Metaphore Examples: John Is A Pig
Since metaphors are so commonly used every day it is easy to overlook their power.
If, for example, a child is told repeatedly that he is a pig what do you think will eventually happen?
You got it.
He will grow up having the opinion that he is really a pig. This would impact his whole existence.
Perhaps he would dress slovenly and live in poor conditions. Perhaps he would think of himself as unworthy compared to someone who was raised to believe he was a lion among men.
Starting to see how powerful metaphors are?
More Metaphore examples: Black Is White
By using metaphors in writing you can combine two unrelated ideas and create a very powerful effect on the reader.
For example, the novel To Kill A Mockingbird was published in 1960 during a period of great racial tension between Americans of European descent and those of African descent.
The novel is strongly against racism. However, when trying to convince someone of a point of view that is different than their own you can’t just come out and say “you’re wrong”.
The novel revolves around the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman.
Over the course of the novel the injustices of racism are revealed to the reader. Now, any number of these readers may have grown up with racism as a normal thing, not realizing its harmful effect on individuals and society.
Like Fish In Water
Like fish in water these readers might be completely oblivious to its existence.
Toward the end of the novel, the local school teacher talks about the treatment of Jews in Hitler’s Germany. The characters are indignant. Human beings should not be treated that way.
What Harper Lee, the author, has very cleverly done is to use a metaphor. By implying that the treatment of African Americans in the US is the same as the treatment of Jews in Hitler’s Germany the novel gains more power than it would have otherwise and drives it’s message home to readers who might not have gotten it.