Sunday, April 22, 2007

Simile and Metaphor

I was talking to a good friend of mine this morning and found myself groping around with the usage of Similes and Metaphors!

For heaven’s sake, I had almost forgotten what was a “Simile” or a “Metaphor” was for that matter!

[Pal - My Friend & Sal - I, Me, Myself & Saloni]

Sal: “ So what exactly is a Simile? ”

Pal: “A simile is the comparison of two unlike things using the word 'like' or 'as', e.g. an example of a simile would be “As big as a bus” says my dear friend with a proficient cadence of clarity and cognizance.”

With embarrassment painting my cheeks red, I was chagrined of my oblivious mind.
Nevertheless, I cheerfully offered a bunch of Similes, as if to imply my effervescent memory had suddenly found its lost lost family!

Sal: “Hey, I remember it all now…… listen to these…
For the starters:- As agile as a monkey (That’s you! HeHe) and As big as an elephant (That’s me! HaHa)

So here's another one....
Right now, I’ve got an eye “as black as coal” because of the blow that you just gave me, making me feel as “as blind as a bat”, but I am “as brave as a lion” so I am not going to be troubled by all these and my heart is “as cold as ice” and I can be “as cunning as a fox” too, with which I am sure to make you feel “as crazy as a loon”………..”

Pal: “Stop it right there!!!!!!!!!!! I have already gone crazy, don’t even try any further please…..”

Sal: “Oh.. But I haven’t completed it… I was only trying tell that I “SO” understood the usage of Simile.”

Pal: “Yeah..Right(Ugghh!)..”

Sal: "okie.. Alright lets move on to Metaphor then?"

Pal: "Yes, very gladly, But on one condition…"

Sal: "(Doubtfully) what would that be?"

Pal: "I don’t want to be a victim of yet another spell of your “Playing with the words”…rather “Playing with Simile/Metaphors!”......."

Sal: "(Defensively), But I was only trying to say that I remembered it all! "

Pal: "tut.. tut… "

Sal: "(Disapprovingly), FINE! I am not gonna speak anything. I am DUMB listener. Go on Mister!"

Pal: "There you go! Completely missing out on what I was going to say! "

Sal: "Well, Whatever it is, I said, IT IS OKAY & You can GO ON."

Pal: "Alrightoo Madame… If that’s what you want, That’s what you’ll get!"

Sal: "yeah, thanks… So, what is a metaphor?"

Pal: "A metaphor is like a Simile or almost like a Simile. That's because it is a comparison that is made between things, which is not always likely or obvious."

Sal: "However, I remember, the explicit use of the word 'like' or 'as' which we see in a simile, would not be used in a metaphor which is rather a comparison of two unlike things using the verb "to be"…. Is that right? "

Pal: "Perfect!"

Sal: Pat myself…. & Gleefully "Thanks!"

Pal: "Hence, a metaphor sounds more forceful and suggestive, but is still very common in speech. Basic Rule: If a sentence uses the words "is like" or "is as", it is usually a simile; if it uses the word "is", without "as" or "like", it is usually a metaphor."

Sal: "Hmmm… Right!"

Pal: "So Can you think of an example of a Metaphor?"

Sal: "Sure why not… Here it is… the most famous one “Apple of my eye ".........."

Pal: "Good one, These Metaphors are similar to Similes – except they do suggest a comparison but do not make it explicitly. We often use metaphors without realizing it. For instance, when we say that your Teachers 'bark a command' at you, you are comparing them to a dog, and hence engaging in metaphor!"

Sal: "That was very profound!"

Pal: "Cool. So, if I say “You are the light of my life” …What comes to your mind? "

Sal: "Ummm… Yes, This actually roots back to a word that originated because of its usage in Egypt, Greece, and Rome in the good old ancient days like almost in 8000 B.C."

Pal: "Whoa…. What’s that now?"

Sal: "Well, A Sandal…but a real dirty and battered one for you!"

Pal: "Heeyyy, I was trying to test your knowledge on Metaphors.... come on… That one was a METAPHOR babe!"

Sal: “Oh realllyyy????? How come you couldn’t think of any other example for Metaphor dude? And you want me to buy that this was the only thing that first struck you, when there are much mundane ones like “Food for thought” or “Apple of my eye.”

Pal: “okay alright, alright.. I give-up!! I can never win over an argument with you!!”

Sal: “You better realize it….”

Pal: “Okay, Here you go, lets finish this conversation in a nicer note..
Here’s a short list of distinguishing characteristics on Simile/Metaphor that I read in a book recently.
"A metaphor is an equation where a simile is an approximation."
"A metaphor can always be greatly extended, while a simile quickly reaches its limits."
"The words like or as are widely known hallmarks of the simile - but there are so many faux similes bearing these hallmarks that further appraisal is always needed."
"A metaphor dies of exhaustion; a simile just gets more and more tired."…...............”

Sal: “Hmmm, now that was some interesting info! Thanks Dude!”

Pal: “Anytime for you Maam!”

Sal: "Thank You Sir!"


Anonymous said...

this paged helped me a lot with my homework!! thanx!!

Saloni Ramachandiran said...

@Anon: You are most welcome!