January 22, 2008

I Am Not a Simile. I Am Like a Metaphor.

Has anyone else noticed that a simile is like a metaphor, but a metaphor is not like a simile?

In fact, a metaphor isn't like anything at all.

It just is.

Being thus, it's plain to see that a metaphor can be anything at all, provided it isn't like anything else.

Which means, contrarily, that a metaphor can be a simile, but a simile can never be a metaphor.

You can have a simile used metaphorically in which case it is a metaphor and not like a simile at all.

You can't have a metaphor used like a simile; because it would then be a simile which is not a metaphor.

Got it? Good.

Moving on.

A metaphor can also be another metaphor as long as it resists the temptation to be like another metaphor.

A metaphor that is a metaphor for another metaphor is, itself, a meta-metaphor, but this does not mean that the meta-metaphor is like like the metaphor for which it is metaphorically representing.

It does mean that the meta-metaphor is a representation of the is which the metaphor it represents is representing metaphorically.

It is entirely possible, even given these parameters, that a metaphor could like something else.

A metaphor could even like a simile or another metaphor; it could not, however, like being like a simile or another metaphor.

You could have a metaphor that liked a metaphor that was a metaphor for liking something else.

You could even have a metaphor that liked a simile that was like liking something else entirely.

It is even possible to have a metaphor that like-liked a simile in a junior high sort of way; provided that the metaphor didn't like-like the simile like another metaphor did, because this would lead to fisticuffs and unclear literary distinctions.

Fighting among metaphors would be rare, of course. They are generally a likable bunch. Personally, I've never met a metaphor that I didn't like.

Metaphors, in that way, are unlike similes. Similes are like those jerks who always like to pretend that they like each other, like the phonies they like to be like.

As if.


ShOI said...

I've always suspected that a metaphor is not as simile-like as a simile, but it's similar.

Brendon Etter said...

Your suspections were correct, Shoi, as always.