FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Figurative Language Figurative language is any language that is not used in a literal (meaning exactly what is says) way. It’s a way of saying one thing and meaning another. Figurative language helps create a picture for the reader. Overused Figurative Language Figurative language is useful, but it can be overdone. When a figure of speech is used over and over again, it loses its freshness and originality and becomes a cliché. A cliché is a stale and overused expression. Example Clichés Pretty as a picture Quiet as a mouse Laughter is the best medicine Every cloud has a silver lining. Avoiding Clichés You want to avoid clichés as they no longer capture the reader’s attention. Instead, you want to create new figures of speech that will interest your reader. Types of Figurative Language Simile Metaphor Personification Hyperbole Symbols Irony Imagery Paradox Oxymoron Simile vs. Metaphor Metaphors and similes are used to compare things that are usually not seen as similar. Metaphors imply the comparison, while similes state the comparison directly. Metaphors That test was a bear! The comparison here is implied – you are identifying the test with a bear. You are not literally saying the test was a bear, but rather that the test was unpredictable and hard to deal with. Similes That test was like struggling with a bear! The comparison is explicit – you have directly stated the comparison. Similes have signal words that help you recognize them – like, as, than, similar to. Literal terms vs. Figurative Terms Metaphors and similes have literal terms and figurative terms. The literal terms is what we are comparing to something else. The figurative term is what is being compared to the literal term. Literal terms vs. Figurative terms That test was a bear! Literal term = test Figurative term = bear Personification Personification is a special kind of metaphor that gives human qualities to something that is not human, such as an animal, object or an idea. Ex. The tree sighed sadly in the cold. The tree can’t really sight or be sad. Literal term = tree Figurative term = a person (the tree is not really a person who can sight and be sad) Figurative Language # 1 I was seven, I lay in the car Watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass. My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin. --Naomi Shihab Nye, “Making a Fist” 1. What is the metaphor in this poem? What is the literal term? What is the figurative term? What does the metaphor mean? Figurative Language # 1 How would the meaning and impact of these lines change if Nye said simply, My stomach really hurt? Now you try it Rewrite the figurative term in Nye’s metaphor. Try to express feelings of anxiety and pain – both physical and emotional – with your metaphor. My stomach was __________________________. Figurative Language # 2 The Tangerine Times printed a special pullout section on the Lake Windsor Middle School sinkhole. The photos were spectacular. They had one huge shot of the splintered walkways sticking up in all directions, like Godzilla had just trampled through there. Edward Bloor, Tangerine Figurative Language # 2 1. Is the phrase the splintered walkways sticking up in all directions literal or figurative? Explain. 2. …like Godzilla had just trampled there is a simile. Why is it a simile and not a metaphor? What are the literal and figurative terms? Now you try it Write one sentence which describes a park. First describe it literally (how the park really is), then support your description with a simile. Use this pattern for your sentence. The park ________________________________ _____________________ , like ______________ _________________________________________. Figurative Language # 3 Frantic, Cole struggled to fly, but he could escape the nest. All he could do was open his beak wide and raise it upward toward the sky, the action a simple admission that he was powerless. There were no conditions, no vices, no lies, no deceit, no manipulation. Only submission and a simple desire to live. He wanted to live, but for that he needed help; otherwise his life would end in the nest. Ben Mikaelsen, Touching Spirit Bear Figurative Language # 3 This paragraph contains an extended metaphor, a metaphor that continues over several sentences and is developed in several ways. The literal term of this metaphor is Cole, the name of the boy who struggles to survive. What is the figurative term? How do you know? What evidence can you find in the paragraph that supports your understanding? Figurative Language # 3 The figurative term in this metaphor is never directly stated. How would the impact of the paragraph change if Mikaelson had written it like this? Frantic, Cole was like a little bird struggling to fly, but he couldn’t do it. Like a baby bird, he was powerless. There were no conditions, no vices, no lies, no deceit, no manipulation. Only submission and a simple desire to live. He wanted to live, but for that he needed help; otherwise his life would end. Now you try it Write an extended, implied metaphor like Mikaelsen’s. Picture a man eating with very poor manners at a party. Your literal term should be the man’s name (make up a name). Your figurative terms is shark. However, don’t state that your person eats like a shark. Instead, compare the man to a shark by giving him the actions of a shark, implying that he eats like shark. Write at least two sentences to extend the metaphor.