You are surrounded by a number of metaphors. They possess the power of embellishing the language. They are considered as innovative ways of thinking and mostly used for shaping the thoughts of others. Without these, the expressions of speech in content are incomplete. They play a very important role in English Literature. The authors, poets used the metaphors in an impressive way in novels, poems, etc. We all speak and write these figures of speech most of the times – learn about what are the metaphors, their importance, types and other information in detail.
What is a Metaphor?
You must be familiar with the term “Metaphor” used in English Literature. Have you ever wondered what are they? Metaphor – A figure of speech which refers to an implied comparison made between two, unlike ideas that actually have some hidden similarities. For example, “Time is a thief” is a metaphor – It implies that time passes too quickly, it doesn’t time is actually a thief. There are a number of metaphors we use every day in our daily life. Other examples include: “The wheels of a justice turn slowly”; “Laughter is the best medicine”, “We are all shadows on the wall of time”, and other limitless examples.
Importance of Metaphors
Metaphors transform your speech or writing into an interesting one by using a literal connection between ideas. They are the creative sources that can be used for explaining the complex concept, situation, and a process. Metaphors can trigger emotions and can create an engaging and compelling content. Thus, they play a crucial role in English Literature.
The Extended Metaphor
An extended metaphor is when an author writes a metaphor throughout a long passage or even an entire fiction or poem. An extended metaphor is used by an author to create a clear and deep comparison between the two things. It also allows the audience to visualize an idea more clearly and can make something that may be complex a little more simple. For example, An author who wants to tell a story about a criminal uses an extended metaphor in this way – “ I would like to tell a story about a fox who attacks a farmer’s flock of chickens.” Here, the fox represents a criminal and chickens represent the poor victims.
Different Types of Metaphors
There are distinct types of Metaphors in Literature for different types of uses. Let me explain each type of metaphor in detail.
The implied metaphor is used for clear comparison between the two things. Like, in this sentence :
“Love sometimes has dangerous thorns.”
It doesn’t mean that love actually has thorns. It depicts that undoubtedly, love is the most beautiful feeling of the world, but it is painful too. Thus, love is compared to a rose – Rose is a beautiful flower having thorns, in the same way, love is beautiful with many sorrows, and difficulties.
The Sustained metaphor is usually used in songs and poetry. It is mainly used for a longer section of text. Also, it develops a powerful and influential literary work. It imposes a strong effect on the reader’s mind. It is similar to extended metaphor.
A dead metaphor is a figure of speech which has lost the original meaning through extensive and eminent usage. For example: “The body of an essay is its main portion” is a dead metaphor which has lost its original and real meaning as it is used so many times such that it looks like a simple term now.
These were the main and extensively used metaphor types, but there are more kinds of metaphors used in English Literature.
Complex Metaphor: A literal expression is expressed through more than one figurative term by the use of complex metaphor. It is mainly a combination of primary metaphors.
Mixed Metaphor: A mixed metaphor is the combination of two or different metaphors.
Conceptual Metaphor: A metaphor in which one idea or a concept is used to understand another concept.
Absolute Metaphor: This kind of metaphor is also known as paralogical metaphor and characterized as meta-theoretical which states that one out of the two terms cannot be distinguished from the other term.
Conventional Metaphor: Conventional metaphor is a familiar comparison of two terms in which the first term is used to understand the conceptual domain of the other term.
Creative Metaphor: An original comparison which is also known as poetry metaphor, unconventional metaphor, novel metaphor and literary metaphor.
Root Metaphor: An image, narrative or fact that shapes an individual’s perception of the world and interpretation of reality.
Visual Metaphor: The representation of a person, place, thing, or idea by means of a visual interpretation that suggests a particular association or point of similarity.
Creating your own metaphors
A strong imagination will help you a lot in creating fantastic metaphors. You need to think imaginatively about the terms, ideas you want to describe or compare. Try to read as many metaphor examples as you can, to come up with new metaphors. After all, it is an art which needs more and more practice. So, if you want to create your own metaphors, you should keep practicing on words related to comparisons, innovative ideas, and concepts. Try to link people, ideas, things, situations, and experiences to add deeper meaning to our writing. They express the feelings in a best possible way.
There are various strategies you can use to develop new metaphors in English Literature. Like, Focus on the specific situation that represents a fact, and identify some key characteristics. Then, find some objects that can relate to the identified key characteristics in the same way as the situation reveals that character. Use some visual interpretations to form best metaphors. Your way of thinking, powerful imagination and practice can only help you in the creation of new and influential metaphors. As you know now, there are a number of types of metaphors, one can gain extensive knowledge about all the types, and then, start using his creativity to add most wonderful and effective metaphors.