Good And Bad Metaphors

Let me draw your attention to the metaphors for example a knife blade is not quite a cliche but it’s not an uncommon thing to have in your metaphor but this writer has made it really original by taking the knife blade to his thoughts and also comparing it to something unusual a train and the shriek of a train the onomatopoeia shriek it is a really effective use here because it’s from the same semantic field as someone being stabbed with a knife so that image works perfectly it knits together with the same register it comes from the same place as it were then we have a hard ball of lead falling in the pit of is forming in the pit of his stomach this is a little bit more of a cliche but we understand from this that he really hates where he’s been and again this is an example of showing rather than telling. Learn how to make good metaphors on Edusson.

And there is also a bit of a semantic link here because lead is a metal and we’ve been left with the knife blade that’s metal so there’s a bit of a connection there in in the imagery and that works these aren’t just any old metaphors for the sake of putting metaphors in they are related to each other semantically on this screen I’m going to show you a really expert bit of context so normally struggling writers put the context at beginning of their writing here we’re going to have the context introduced later see if you can spot it as we go the Train was an ugly brutish thing a hyper visible reminder of the recent efforts made by politicians with switchblade smiles and sharpened teeth to industrialize Russia’s countryside if the wind hadn’t been whipping his cheeks or and he had some feeling left in his muscles he might have twisted his face into a joyless smile or bark to laugh but he didn’t and the train didn’t stop to acknowledge the solitary figure on the other side of the platform and simply continued its restless shuddering journey across the grimy tracks so this is a fantastic paragraph I would argue that you could he could have begun with this paragraph or she could have begun because it is so packed full of techniques.

Let’s see how it works first we can see that we’re in Russia and we’re in a place that’s been industrialized that possibly used to be countryside and we can infer from this that it’s the industrial part that he’s left and that’s why he doesn’t want to go back to it then we have this description of the politicians with this brilliant bit of sibilants their switchblade smiles and their sharpened teeth obviously that’s a sinister description with the sibilants but another brilliant metaphor we can see that their smiles are like flick knives but flick knife doesn’t have the sibilants to it so changing it to switchblade is a brilliant idea and it also has another advantage it shows us that these politicians are likely to switch in other words probably support whichever is the most powerful leader.