I remember as a child, I had a teacher who would scold us often. We, the students, could tell when trouble was upon us. Whenever our teacher stood before us, bowed her head, and began, “Metaphorically speaking…” it is a sure sign that someone if not the whole class was “in for it”. This was in Grade 1.
My teacher was a traveler. She left our tiny island often visiting far away places and reflected upon the coldness in England, the hatred in America, and the pleasantries in Canada. My favorite phrase was “Metaphorically speaking, life is a tree full of mangoes for us.” I knew this was something good because mangoes on our tiny island are sweet tasting fruits with more than fifty different species.
From that, the only thing I knew about metaphors were that it could be bad or good. I later learn that a METAPHOR is used to compare two things stating one thing is the other. For instance, “LIFE IS A TREE FULL OF MANGOES” is a metaphor. My teacher was saying “LIFE IS GOOD”. But for four and five year olds, we would not understand that statement or concept. For us, we knew how good mangoes were and she painted that picture immediately.
When she made the statement, the classroom filled with five year olds immediately rubbed their tummies and licked their lips. But when you are an adult traveling the world, it is easy to compare your island to other countries and continents. As I grew, I later learned the meaning behind my teacher’s statement. England saw the changing of the seasons. On our tiny island, 70 degrees is cold for us.
When she traveled back and forth to America, the race issues were dominant. On our island, we are truly what our motto conveys “OUT OF MANY ONE PEOPLE”. We are very diverse with Blacks, White, Chinese, Indian, and a mix of other nationalities who joined us to bask in the sunshine and eat Jerk Chicken and Rice and Peas.
Twenty years ago, I learned that my teacher left our island and moved to Toronto, Canada. This post is not so much about writing as it is a reflection on METAPHORS.
In conclusion, a METAPHOR is a literary device used to compare two things by stating one this is the other. Early on in my life, I was exposed to this literary device. I still remembered it and the message it conveys. So use metaphors in your writing. State the obvious, but make sure you are appealing to the sense of your readers.