Overview of Key Image Terms: Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Dominant Impression, and Connotation

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Key Image Terms

1. simile- compares two dissimilar objects using like or as. Example #1: N. Scott Momaday describes shadows from clouds "that move upon the grain like water."
Commentary: This simile shows vs. tells. It helps me to picture what the shadows looked like. They weren't stationary, they were moving very fluid over a field of grain. By comparing the shadows to water, Momaday paints a picture of something being intangible to something that is tangible. I didn't directly see the shadows moving over the field, but he took something unfamiliar to me and compared it to something I am familiar with. The simile also instills a sense of calm and peace because he says, "move upon then grain like water," and it's not a threatening tone. He doesn't say they crashed down upon the grain because this would create an impression that he wasn't trying to portray. Example #2: Roxanne Roberts describes blood on the floor of her kitchen. She says the blood was "like jell-o."

Commentary: When I think of jell-o I think of a sticky red film over the floor. She talks about how she tried to clean it off. She says that it's been 20 years and she's still cleaning up. As difficult as the blood was to clean up, she had even more trouble cleaning up her life after her father's suicide. Not only was the blood like jell-o, but so was her hope. The more you try to rub the jell-o away, the more pieces it is split into. It then becomes even harder to clean up. You would have to scrape for a long time to even begin to remove the blood from the tile floor.

2. Metaphor- compares two things by saying that one thing his something else. Example #1: Mark Twain says, "A broad expanse of the river was turned to blood."
Commentary: Twain is saying that the sunset over the river turned the water red. At first it was a deep "blood" red, and then it brightened into gold. He didn't say that the river was blood, but he said that it "turned to" blood. The word "turn" is a form of the word...
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