A freshly phrased metaphor used in the correct spot in our narrative can not only touch our readers’ emotions and add depth to our story, it can also paint a more vivid description. In this post, I’ll touch on three types of metaphors, though many more types are out there in the literary world.
The Absolute Metaphor.
Definition: The tenor (subject of the metaphor) has no connection with the subject’s vehicle (image used in the metaphor).
Example: John is a ticking time bomb.
There is no connection between John and a time bomb. He won’t literally explode. John’s metaphorical explosion, however, might be building to a fit of rage. So there is the connection–an explosion of rage and a bomb’s explosion.
The Mixed Metaphor
Avoid using this one.
Definition: A mixed metaphor combines two or more metaphors that have no logical connection to each other.
Example: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch and swim away.
Chickens hatch, but they don’t swim. Thus, I mixed two images, chickens and fish. We see no logical connection between them.
The Extended Metaphor
Definition: These metaphors extend for longer periods in a sentence, paragraph, or page by using two or more parallels between two unlike things. They’re often found in poetry.
Example: Robert Frost’s poem, “The Runaway.”
Frost uses a horse experiencing his first snow and the fear that he experiences to represent a fearful child who has run away from home with no one to comfort him.
To read this poem and hear it read, visit this link: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-runaway-11/
I hope this little series on metaphors has been helpful. Thanks for visiting!