metaphors in communication allows us to “tap into a richer vein of language and thought.” (Kirby et al., 1999, p. 82) They allow us to better describe our world to those around us, than mere description alone, promoting more effective communication. By blending aspects of other ideas and images with the thoughts we are trying to convey, metaphors allow us to bring our ideas to life, and help others have a clearer understanding of the ideas we are trying to convey. In the example below, metaphors not only liven up a description of a somewhat mundane task, but can also add an element of emotion to the description, allowing the reader to feel as if they actually experienced the occurrence.
As the sun scowled down, the parched city below cried out in thirst. Crowds of dust had overtaken the usually lushly lined streets, rioting as impatient cars drove over them stirring them into the pale sky. Anything within reach of the irritated dust quickly became covered as they once again settled down, waiting for the next disturbance. My car too had become encased in a sweater of these sun worshippers as I made my daily commute to and from my office. Not able to stand the sight of my once sparkling travel companion dressed in her dingy, dusty frock, it became apparent that I must take action immediately.
Slowly I made my way through the tangle of other dehydrated travelers, the relentless sun stretching her fingers through the windows, as the thermometer inside inched up quietly and without fuss. There, just ahead, was the sanctuary I sought. The car wash called longingly to me, pulling me through traffic.
As I pulled into the relief of the stall, my car sighed to a halt, breathing in the cool, shaded air. I exited the confines of my vehicle and made my way to the animal staring unblinkingly at me from the wall. My change clinked loudly in the empty belly of the beast as he came to life and began to spew precious water from the mouth of his long snout. I gripped the snout and aimed at my desiccated exterior of my car.
The soap and water danced joyfully on the surface. Droplets bounced about like children with a new toy. They sang a chorus of moisture as they played along the hood of my car. The angry dust, however, clung desperately to the paint, fighting to keep their foothold on my poor friend. I moved in closer, determined to remove these leeches forever. The mischievous spray found amusement in jumping off the wheel wells and tickling my face, laughing as I too became soaked. In the end, each member of the sullen dust brigade lost his or her battle and the cloak of dust slowly dissolved and ran, never to be seen again, down the drain. Slowly, the youth of my old friend began to return.
As if she had recently bathed in the Fountain of Youth, my renewed car emerged from under the dusty coat she had been wearing for far too long. She glistened as I pulled her back under the gaze of the evil sun. Somehow, though, the sun seemed a bit kinder, a bit gentler, not as harsh in her unwavering stare as before. As the tiny remaining droplets of the valiant water warriors stood defiantly on my hood they glistened, reflecting some of the sun’s damaging thoughts.
A too felt renewed. Perhaps it was my new water comrades still hiding between the fibers of my shirt and playing tag down the back of my neck, perhaps it simply was the sight of my old friend shining as she hadn’t in weeks. My thoughts were filled with this new sense of ease and what the possible cause could be as I made my way home, when I noticed that the water warriors shivering on my hood had seemed to invite a few friends.
More of their friends began to appear on my windshield; followed by their family members, and eventually every acquaintance they had every known. Had I issued an invitation to the water in the Heavens to attend a party on Earth with the removal of my vehicle’s dust? Apparently so.
As I made the final distance to the shelter of my garage, the rain jingled all about. The dust gnashed their teeth as it co-mingled with the rain, becoming a murky soup on the road. The dust members made a renewed attempt at plaguing the vehicles around them, including my freshly cleaned baby, and laughed at me as I grimaced at their new damage thanks to the assistance of their past archenemy.
Kirby, G.R., Goodpaster, J.R., & Levine, M. (1999). Critical Thinking. Boston: Pearson
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