MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

1493 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...

2 years ago

Answered by Kate, a GCSE English Language tutor with MyTutor


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

111 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£24 /hr

Maria P.

Degree: Classics (Masters) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered:English Language, Latin+ 5 more

English Language
Latin
History
French
English Literature
Classical Greek

“Passion, patience and persistence: the 3 keys we will use to unlock your confidence and exam technique!”

£18 /hr

Charlotte C.

Degree: Philosophy and English (Bachelors) - Southampton University

Subjects offered:English Language, Religious Studies+ 3 more

English Language
Religious Studies
Philosophy and Ethics
Extended Project Qualification
English Literature

“I've overcome huge learning barriers over the years, and I want to help others do the same. Nobody should be written off.”

MyTutor guarantee

|  6 completed tutorials

£24 /hr

Georgios Marios P.

Degree: Mechanical Engineering (Integrated Masters) - Imperial College London University

Subjects offered:English Language, Spanish+ 5 more

English Language
Spanish
Physics
Maths
English Literature
Economics

“I am a passionate, energetic and motivating student with a genuine interest in all my subjects, hoping to inspire and help students achieve their end goals.”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Kate M.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

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-

“English, History and Religious Studies tutor | Personal Statement mentor | Track record of student success and satisfaction”

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

How should I structure a good essay?

what framework is used to analyse texts?

GCSE English: writing to analyse, review and comment

How should I go about a descriptive writing task?

View GCSE English Language tutors

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

mtw:mercury1:status:ok