October 29, 2012

Killingsworth - Metaphors

I thought the explanation of metaphors was really interesting. Mostly because we use them all the time but people frequently mislabel things as metaphors when really it's a simple comparison, or an analogy, or a simile. Comparisons, or analogies, are literally just that - things that are being compared. And the general rule for similes is that they use like or as in their language to know positively that it is a simile. 

But a metaphor is defined in this as an identification, "a way of bringing together seemingly unlike things" (123). The explanation of bringing things together that seem unrelated is an interesting and accurate take. Whether the metaphor is in a positive or negative light, it does it's job at combining emotion with tangible things, or personification with things unseen. Killingsworth's example of "O wild West Wind, thou breath of autumn's being" (124) he explains as a ratio. Which I found to be an interesting take on the matter. If there is a hint of this, then add a dash of that and even though you think it might not work, literary works might be made from it. 

He says this about metaphors as 4 important parts aspects of them, with my own examples of such thrown in to exemplify what I think they mean:

1. "Appeals to time link metaphorically with the experience of aging body"

The wrinkles on her face were those of worn down tires.

2. "Appeals to place link with the spacial experience of the living body including perception of natural phenomena such as gravity, weather, topography, and the seasons. The body is the place of places, where the self resides"

When I was told he had died, all I could picture was the place he was found. The empty valley, in the small town. I kept thinking how appropriate he had come to rest in a place that so resembled the way he saw his life, so vast and full of potential but guarded by the safe-haven of small familiarity. 

3. "Appeals to gender link with the bodily experience of maleness or femaleness, including the awareness of bodily features and functions such as hormonal fluctuations as well as societal injunctions and limits on behavior"

When he looked at me like that, my toes curled in the same way my hair had ringlets. I couldn't let go of the princess ideals I'd grown up with finally coming into formation.

4. "Appeals to race link with skin color and other physical signs of ethnic origin (eye and nose shape, body size, hair color, etc.)" (124). 

The dark, richness of his skin reminded me of my first sip of morning coffee.

I like metaphors in a way I don't appreciate comparisons, analogies or similes because I feel they have an elegance that the others can't always obtain. Because of their obviousness, metaphors have a sense of secrecy and fluidity that I really enjoy. And I appreciated Killingsworth explaining what is behind them and how they are important to writing.

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