MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

653 views

What is an extended metaphor and how do you build one?

First things first, a metaphor says that one thing literally is another. Some examples you may have heard before... 'raining cats and dogs', 'shooting the messenger', 'the Good Shepherd'. Even Shakespeare had a crack at it: 'But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.' (Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2). 

An extended metaphor does the same thing, but the picture is built up gradually throughout a longer passage. Examiners like them because they help make your writing more sophisticated and show you've thought about the overall message. 

Extended metaphors can be pretty daunting but they also quite fun once you are confident writing them. Here's how I remember the basic rules:

Is the metaphor relevant? 
In other words, does the image you're using to describe your subject (the place, person, situation, object) help to convey your meaning. For example, if you're describing a battlefield, make sure you pick an image that is suitably solemn, respectful or harrowing. If you can, use your metaphor to add some extra meaning to your description.

Is the metaphor accessible?
Whilst you might be a specialist in korean cooking, American football or ice dancing, your examiner might not be. Make sure you pick your extended metaphor carefully and that the meaning can be worked out by almost everyone.

Is your metaphor proportionate? 
If you're trying to emphasise the scale of an event, compare it to something bigger. Likewise, if you want to get cross how small or insignificant something is, use images like a fruit flie, a one pence coin, or a grain of sand. (Once you get the hang of this you can invert it to create pathos, the feeling of being underwhelmed.)

The building blocks (The lexical field)

If you want to say that an old woman is wise, you might pick the traditional symbol of wisdom - an owl - to compare her too. You might say that she has 'amber eyes', 'feathery' hair or clothes, 'talons' for nails etc. 

If you want to describe a particularly loud or flamboyant person who draws lots of attention you might start subtlely referring to their surroundings as a 'theatre', their friends might be their 'audience', the chatter following what they say might be 'applause'. 

Importantly, try out lots of different things in your metaphor. You only need to use one continuing metaphor in a piece of creative writing. Once you've mastered it you will find that extended metaphors creep into all sorts of writing, because they are a great way to get across a complicated message. 

Kate M. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE History tutor, A Level En...

1 year ago

Answered by Kate, a GCSE English Language tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

62 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£18 /hr

Harry B.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered: English Language, Russian+ 5 more

English Language
Russian
Music
Maths
Latin
History
English Literature

“Hi there, my name is Harry and I'm a finalist reading music at the University of Cambridge. I absolutely love all types of muisc and fortuantely, in my degree, I'm studying a really wide variety of subjects, ranging from the 13th Cent...”

MyTutor guarantee

£18 /hr

Jenevieve T.

Degree: BSc International Relations (Bachelors) - LSE University

Subjects offered: English Language, Maths+ 3 more

English Language
Maths
History
English Literature

“I am a second year student studying International Relations at the London School of Economics. My degree has allowed me to get into a subject that I love, there is no easy answer and there is always room for another opinion, fo rme th...”

£30 /hr

Lucy R.

Degree: Psychology Graduate (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Language, Psychology+ 3 more

English Language
Psychology
English Literature
-Personal Statements-

“Passionate about psychology, I know that understanding psychological concepts is crucial to explaining them clearly on paper, and believe it’s important to combine a broad understanding of psychology with the specific exam technique e...”

About the author

£20 /hr

Kate M.

Degree: Combined Honours in Social Sciences (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Language, Philosophy and Ethics+ 2 more

English Language
Philosophy and Ethics
History
English Literature
-Personal Statements-

“Hi! I’m Kate and I’m a student at Durham University. My degree is made up of History and Politics modules, as well as some English Literature, Anthropology, and Art History, so I’m well equipped to provide as indepth or broad an insig...”

You may also like...

Posts by Kate

What is an extended metaphor and how do you build one?

What is an extended metaphor and how do you build one?

Why did the Romanov dynasty collapse in 1917?

Other GCSE English Language questions

What are semantics and pragmatics? The difference between an A and an A*

How should I go about a descriptive writing task?

GCSE English: writing to analyse, review and comment

I am struggling with Unit 1 of the GCSE, especially question 4, the 'comparing the use of language in two texts'; how do I improve my marks on this particular question?

View GCSE English Language tutors

Cookies:

We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok