The Use of Metaphors

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SanTianna Simmons
ENG 1102
25 April 2013

A metaphor is where you show how two unrelated things are similar. For example by saying "Love is a roller-coaster.” A key aspect of a metaphor is use a specific transference of a word into another context. The human mind creates comparisons between different things. The best writers use metaphors. Like poetry, a metaphor will express a thousand different meanings all at once, allowing the writer to convey much more content than they could do otherwise. More than playing simple word games, the use of metaphors in your writing can elevate your stories to a place next to the greatest authors in the world. There are many kinds of metaphors: Allegory, catechesis, parables, extended metaphors, etc. An extended metaphor establishes a subject and then extends it further, as in this quote from Shakespeare "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages." Brian Doyle, Author of “Joyas Valdoras”, uses the hummingbird metaphor to support his story. The story starts off by grabbing the reader’s attention with a fact. The fact is very interesting. Unless you are someone that studies animals, you would have no idea that a hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil, or that it beats ten times per second. After I read the first sentence, I was instantly interested to see what more the author had to say. He got the name, Joyas Valdoras, from a reference by early Spanish settlers. It means flying jewels. They called these creatures flying jewels because they had never seen anything like them before. They would fly around quickly all day, reproducing and collecting nectar. Doyle then goes on to add more facts about hummingbirds and their incredible hearts. Hummingbirds can fly up to 500 miles without stopping to rest, however they can get burned out. Whenever humming birds get burned out, it can become fatal. Although Doyle’s allusion to hummingbirds was interesting, I don’t think he meant for his story to simply be a story about humming birds. He also goes on to talk about the blue whale, an animal having the largest heart in the world. He gives us interesting facts about that animal also, but this still does not justify why he was even writing the story, for if he had wanted his readers to be informed only about animals, he’d have put these facts in a science book instead. I think Doyle was relating the animal’s hearts with that of human hearts. He said sometimes humming birds get burned out without even knowing what they’re doing is dangerous. Humans also do the same thing. Today’s world is very fast paced. Sometimes we don’t have time to rest or do anything of that nature. We do it, without knowing how unhealthy to the body and spirit that is. He also alludes that the heart is a very strong thing. Not just our physical heart, but our emotional and spiritual heart as well. So much can happen to someone’s heart. It can go through the most joy, excitement, hurt and pain and still beat at the end of the day. I think the way Doyle transitions form talking about hummingbirds and whales to something so emotional was very effective. He makes it easy for us to relate to his story because he keeps us so involved. I felt as if he was ready the story to me instead of the other way around.

Sian-Pierre Regis stated “As should be obvious by now, Doyle is doing far more than describing the hearts of various animals. In explaining about the hearts of animals, he has subtly been drawing us into this reality: “We all churn inside.” In this creation there is unimaginable beauty (“flying jewels”) and there is excruciating pain (“a brilliant music stilled”). And so finally, we are led to his masterful ending and the real point of this whole piece. If you’ve read this far, I encourage you to take a minute and quiet your heart. Let yourself feel these words. It may hurt,...
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