Would you be shocked if I told you that you
use metaphor every day? I’ll prove it to you—and raise your grade in English—next. If you called your brother a pig today, congratulations!
You’re a poet! OK, that’s probably a bit of a stretch, but
did you know that when you’re busy telling your friend that so-and-so is such a pig,
you’re busy using metaphor? That’s because a metaphor is a comparison
of two dissimilar things using some form of the verb “to be.” For example, “He is a pig.” Poets use metaphor all the time—even novelists
do—because the beauty of this literary device is that using metaphor to link two things
that would otherwise be completely unrelated helps to create new meanings. It allows us
see things in fresh and surprising ways. Metaphor is cool, too, because it’s compact.
What I mean is, you can pack a lot of meaning into one little comparison. Again: He is a pig. You could share the details of your brother’s
disgusting behaviors. You could list the reasons for your displeasure.
But “He is a pig” gets the point across in a snap. Don’t you think? Just don’t let your brother hear you saying
that, otherwise (metaphor alert!) you just might be toast.