Stereotypes in Poems Using Hidden Metaphors

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Stereotypes in Poems using hidden metaphors

Metaphors are present in our everyday language. They are a cornerstone of communication in everyday language. They exist in all cultures whether to creatively describe an event, teach a lesson or exaggerate the importance of an experience. Metaphors can have hidden meanings while others offer vivid images and eloquent phrases to convey their point. Some metaphors are called sleeping metaphors because the reader takes the meaning for granted. As Emily Martin demonstrated in her article the Sperm and the Egg, she revealed how gender stereotypes are hidden within the scientific language and other so called objective writings. The following examples are given in order to support her findings in other forms of literature such as children’s poems. Metaphors are not always simple and they can come in many forms. The poetic device is among the most powerful tools for creativity and they can help readers relate to the subject. The process works by using familiar things to give meaning to unfamiliar things but can go wrong when hidden stereotypes are revealed. The first example shows how women are portrayed in a poem by Shel Silverstein, Picture Puzzle Pieces, he uses other fairy tale references that have many metaphors that lead the reader into viewing women as “old”, “evil”, “big bouncy belly” and “shadowy”: One picture puzzle piece

Lyin' on the sidewalk,
One picture puzzle piece
Soakin' in the rain.
It might be a button of blue
On the coat of the woman
Who lived in a shoe.
It might be a magical bean,
Or a fold in the red
Velvet robe of a queen.
It might be the one little bite
Of the apple her stepmother
Gave to Snow White.
It might be the veil of a bride
Or a bottle with some evil genie inside.
It might be a small tuft of hair
On the big bouncy belly
Of Bobo the Bear.
It might be a bit of the cloak
Of the Witch of the West
As she melted to smoke.
It might be a shadowy trace
Of a tear that...
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