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Tag Archives identity

Metaphor

Posted on 3 min read 27 views

I’ve been thinking about metaphor. But to talk about it, I have to at least mention simile. As I understand it, a simile is simply a comparison: something is like something else. And usually, at least in literature, similes are used to link something concrete to something abstract, like a feeling or an idea. Although there’s a big difference between a rose and a feeling, a simile can suggest what the feeling is like by comparing it with the rose. For example: My love is like a red, red rose. Something of how we respond to roses, their beauty, their colour, gets linked to a feeling: love. And in that comparison we pass meaning to someone else, however fuzzy the translation may be.

Metaphor is different. It doesn’t develop a comparison, it establishes an identity. One thing is another thing. Consider what happens if I change the line we’re using to the following: My love is a red, red rose. The sentence says that the rose is his love, it’s identified with it. And that’s a different thing altogether. A simile, based in comparison, is logical enough for us. A metaphor, on the other hand, requires more since it makes the abstraction and the object a single reality. It’s not an objective correlative, an object used to suggest a feeling. It’s a fusion of the two.

Metaphor is more than simile because

Literature and Identity

Posted on 3 min read 16 views

Reading fiction provides a foundation that initiates in us greater awareness of ourselves and of our culture; that helps to liberate us from provincialism;  that provides the potential for personal growth that leads to identity.

We learn through familiarity, through repeated exposure, and it’s important to expose ourselves to the best that has been thought and said. Such exposure fosters open-mindedness and a respect for the integrity of systems of thought. Exposure to literature helps alleviate our own moral ambiguity by developing in us a disinclination to accept a relativism which tends to ignore moral issues.

If we learn by example, by repeated exposure, are not literary works the best teachers for us?