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In Defense of Metaphors

jrlewis's picture

“Metaphors are a bad habit,” the professor says.  “We are chefs throwing bacon in bad recipes,” I write in my notes.  “I think in metaphors,” I think.  I’ve read papers on the pedagogical importance of metaphors.  I wrote my senior thesis on the power of metaphors.  It is such a shame Susan Sontag is dead.  Dear Susan, are you turning over in your grave yet?

What is a metaphor?  Or are we talking about all figurative language?  Similes are logically weaker than metaphors, does that make them better or worse?  Then, there is metonymy defying a definition stronger than association.  Synecdoche is a kind of metonymy; the part representing the whole.  Chemistry is the study of synecdoche with respect to any other field.  I think metonymy is the fast lane of thought.  The height of poetry is the wild linking croissants and my imaginary older sister. 

Function follows form is the lesson of the semester, I suspect.  So the problem with metaphors is that they are the converse.  They are meaning heavy.  They are heavy.  This professor likes light language and dark thoughts. What if I resist?  What will this course do to me?  What if no one appreciates this rant? 

I’d rather jump an unfamiliar horse over a fence with my eyes closed than give up my metaphors.  Metaphors equal life for me.