Metaphorical Devices: How the Masters Do It

We’re looking at Metaphorical Devices this week.  Here are some examples of how the masters use them… SYMBOLS

Some books state their symbols right in the title:

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter


Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club
This is a story of two guys, an unnamed narrator and Tyler Durdan, who start a fight club… and, in the big twist at the end, are revealed to actually be one and the same guy.  Palahniuk uses leitmotif’s to suggest and foreshadow this, including the repeated phrase, “I know this because Tyler knows this.”  He also uses an extended metaphor, in one scene at least, to express the unnamed narrator’s disgust:  “I am Joe’s Raging Bile Duct… I am Joe’s Grinding Teeth…I am Joe’s Inflamed Flaring Nostrils….”


George Orwell’s Animal Farm
This is a story in which animals organize their farm society in what Orwell said is intended “primarily as a satire on the Russian revolution.  As Orwell biographer Jeffrey Meyers has written, “virtually every detail has political significance in this allegory.”

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
This is the story of a group of boys stranded on a deserted island.  It is considered allegorical because each of the boys represents, or is the personification of, a philosophical approach to life, and the whole story represents the battle between might-makes-right and civilization/democracy and its results.

Richard Adams’ Watership Down
According to Wikipedia, “Watershed Down has been described as an allegory, with the labours of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, and Silver ‘mirror[ing] the timeless struggles between tyranny and freedom, reason and blind emotion, and the individual and the corporate state.'”  However, Mr. Adams has said that, “Watership Down was never intended to be some sort of allegory or parable. It is simply the story about rabbits made up and told in the car.”

What about you?  What sort of metaphorical devices have you seen in the books you’ve read lately?


We’ll see if we can find some metaphors to use in our own work.  See you then!

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