Figurative Language Figuring it Out Figurative and Literal Language Literal: words function exactly as defined The boy’s room was messy. The left fielder dropped the baseball. Figurative: You have to figure it out The boy’s room was a pigsty. The left fielder has butterfingers. ^These are figures of speech. Simile A comparison of two different things using the word “like” or “as.” Examples Telephone wires hung like a musical score Compares telephone wires to a musical score Those faces, sour as vinegar; Compares facial expressions to the taste of vinegar Warning! “Like” and “as” don’t always make similes. A comparison must be made. Not Simile: I washed the dishes as she dried them. Simile: The dishes were as clean as the inside of a full bottle of soap. In the first example, no comparison is made. In the second, the cleanliness of the dishes is compared to the inside of a soap bottle. Metaphor A comparison of two different things without using the word “like” or “as.” Examples Flowers of thought blossom while reading Compares thinking to blossoming flowers Drink of sweet courage until drunk of it Compares courage to a liquid drink She was my lute, by her I sang Compares the girl to a lute Personification Giving human traits to objects or ideas. Examples The stars are hiding now Gives stars the ability to hide. Or trees that whisper in some far, small town Gives trees the ability to whisper. A tree may wear a nest of robins in her hair Gives the tree hair and the ability to wear things. Hyperbole Exaggerating to express a strong feeling Examples I will love you until the end of time. It is unlikely that the speaker will live that long. My dad would kill me if he knew about this. Dad probably wouldn’t actually kill his own child. My book bag weighs a million pounds. The bag isn’t even close to a million pounds. Understatement Expression with less strength than expected. The opposite of hyperbole. Examples The guillotine will give you a bad hair day. The results will be much worse than bad hair. Kidnapping your host is considered rude. This is a serious crime much worse than rudeness. Quiz On a separate sheet of paper… 1. I will figurative language examples on the board. 2. You will write whether each is an example of simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, or understatement. 3. You can use your notes. 1 Let it be forgotten as a flower is forgotten, Answer This is a simile because it compares a thing that should be forgotten to a flower. 2 Your hand was honey-comb to heal, Your voice a web to bind. Answer This is a metaphor because the subject’s hand was compared to honey-comb and the subject’s voice was compared to a web. The speaker did not use like or as. 3 After smashing through the garage door Alex acknowledge that he may have parked a little too close to the house. Answer This is an understatement because Alex parked more than a little too close. 4 The brooks laugh louder when I come, The breezes madder play. Answer This is personification because the brooks are given the ability to laugh and the breezes are given the ability to play. 5 There are some, like stars, that dwell apart, In a fellowless firmament; Answer This is simile because some are compared to stars using the word like. 6 And there will I keep you forever, Yes, forever and a day, Till the walls shall crumble to ruin, And molder in dust away! Answer This is hyperbole because the speaker is exaggerating how long he will keep the person. You can’t add a day to forever without exaggerating. 7 Freedom weeps, Wrong rules the land, and waiting Justice sleeps. Answer This is personification because freedom is given the ability to weep, wrong is given the ability to rule, and justice is given the ability to sleep. 8 The painted leaves are strewn Along the winding way. Answer This is a metaphor because the coloration of the leaves is compared to paint without using the word like or as. 9 Jeff probably should have said “Thanks” after Vic saved his life. Answer This is an understatement because if someone saves another’s life, more gratitude is expected than the informal “Thanks.” 10 The graveyard of my soul is filled with flowers, so that I may stroll in meditation, at my ease. Answer This is a metaphor because the speaker compares his soul to a graveyard without using the word like or as.