Metaphorically Speaking

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by Carmen Peone

Metaphors extend familiar names and pair them with new objects. In metaphor there is a transfer of meaning. The Greek word from which metaphor originates from means “to transfer.” Hence a ray of sunshine cuts despair (as though it were a knife); a woman weaves through life (as cedar bark is woven to create a basket); clouds sailed across the sky (its motion likened to that of a sailboat). 

The Bible is filled with metaphors. The most famous Biblical metaphor is “The Lord is my shepherd.” Think about this. What does a Shepard do? Protects. Feeds. Waters. Provides for. Isn’t that what God does for us?  

I also like this definition: A metaphor is a figure of speech that makes an implicit, implied, or hidden comparison between two things that are unrelated, but which share common characteristics. In other words, a similarity of two contradictory or different objects is made based on a common characteristic. 

I love using metaphors in my novels. They are fun to create and add color to any scene. I don’t recommend using too many, like punctuation, they are the seasoning on a salad. And remember they are not similes who compare two dissimilar things using like or as.  

When using metaphors, force and sharpness of detail (sensory detail ratchets things up a notch) tend to go hand in hand.  An example would be: my spurs raked over the day’s gloom. Can you feel the prickly spur rowels cutting through trouble, grief, or heartache, possibly taking the reader on a horseback ride through a mountainous forest with streams to cool their faces and birds to lift downtrodden spirits, communing with the Creator (Yes, I’m a horsewoman.) 

Other Biblical Metaphors include: 

The Lord is my high ridge, my stronghold, my deliverer. My God is my rocky summit where I take shelter, my shield, the horn that saves me, and my refuge. (Psalm 18:2) 

I am the light of the world. (John 18:12) 

I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35) This is one of my favorites. It tells me God is my deliverer. He has and is all that I need.  

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1) 

Many of the parables of Jesus are extended metaphors. For example, in the story of the Prodigal Son, the father can be seen as a metaphor for God. We are all prodigals until we accept Jesus as our redeemer. God is our father, who waits for his children to come home upon salvation.  

Okay, now it’s your turn.  

Try describing each of the following subjects or scenes in a sentence that uses an appropriate metaphor:

  1. A crowded street: 
  1. A hot summer evening: 
  1. A rank bronco: 
  1. An elegantly dressed woman: 
  1. famous racehorse 
  1. A stormy ocean: 

I’d love to see what you come up with. Please share your metaphors in the comments section.

About the Author:

Carmen PeoneCarmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.

These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy. Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at https://carmenpeone.com/books/.
http://carmenpeone.com

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