Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blue Ribbon Metaphor

What is metaphor?

According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a metaphor is “a figure of speech in which a word for one idea or thing is used in place of another to suggest a likeness between them” (p. 464, 1997).  In writing classes, and even English classes, students learn about metaphors.  However, it often seems hard to effectively use a metaphor without sounding clichéd.  For example, how often have you heard “his voice was music to my ears” or “her heart was a drum” or “she’s a hungry pig”, and so on.  All hackneyed and overused examples. 

But what’s the key to a good metaphor?

I wanted to use this blog as a way to highlight an example of metaphor that I truly love.  It is from a song called “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes.  Here is a prime example of metaphor used effectively and in a fresh and new way.  The choice of metaphors in these lyrics truly captures the feelings or images that the writer is trying to convey.  These artists do a great job grounding the feeling into something understandable and relatable.  AND, it has a great beat too!

Take a second to look up the lyrics and visualize the metaphors as you read.  Type in "Stereo Heart lyrics by Gym Class Heroes" in a search engine, and that should take you to the lyrics.

Well, what do you think?  The writers could have easily said “my heart is a drum”, but instead, they use a metaphor that is creative and relatable to any musician or music lover: a stereo.  Even though rap music is not children’s literature (obviously) I think that any writer can learn from these lyrics and their wonderful use of metaphors.  Remembering to be creative, whimsical, and fresh without losing the grounded feel of a metaphor is, in my opinion, the best way to use metaphors well.
    What’s your favorite song that effectively uses metaphor?

If you want to hear the song, check it out on youtube:

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