WHAT IS A Metaphor? (MET-A-FOR)
A metaphor compares two things that are unrelated to create a specific EFFECT for the reader. They are very similar to SIMILES.
One example of this is from Grace Nichols’ poem Praise Song For My Mother, in which Nichols uses the line ‘you were water to me’. This metaphor compares her mother to water. When you consider the CONNOTATIONS (the ideas which come into your mind) of the word water, it’s likely that you will think of it as:
Something that you cannot survive without!
Now that you have figured out some of the connotations of the comparison, you can start to think about what Grace Nichols was trying to say to her reader through her metaphor. In this case, it is likely that she was trying to say that she could not imagine life without her mother - that she needs her mother within her life, just in the same way that she could not live without water.
Why do we use Metaphors?
As you can see from the example above, metaphors make it easy for someone to explain a complex feeling which they have inside of them in a way that someone can find easier to understand. This is why metaphors are so common within everyday language, in the books and poetry we read, and even in other mediums such as music, magazines, TV shows, newspaper articles and blogs.