How to use Extended Metaphor
When writing an extended metaphor, there are few rules, but there are some guiding practices.
First, decide upon your subject and your basic metaphors. For this example, let’s imagine we are writing a story about your school. For the basic metaphor, we will say that your school is a beehive.
Next, use the following methods to explore this metaphor and write the story:
- Compare: Show how one idea is like the other.
- Bees are noisy, buzzing constantly.
- Students in the hallways are noisy, talking constantly.
- Contrast: Show how one idea is unlike the other.
- Bees are tireless workers.
- Students like to take breaks, and often prefer lounging on the bleachers of the sports field to attending classes or doing homework.
- Juxtaposition: Place both ideas together and let them develop side by side so your audience can see those similarities and differences in action.
- The bees go back and forth finding flowers and pollen to make honey.
- The students go back and forth between classes, getting an education.
- Analogy: Explore the similarities between the ideas to develop their relationship.
- The Principal is the Queen Bee.
- The students are the worker bees.
- Extrapolation: Infer or hypothesize about the unknown elements of one by using the known elements of the other.
- We know that by working together, the bees stay alive, pollenate flowers and produce honey, which helps to keep their environment healthy.
- We infer that the students, by working together, get educations, learn about life and become active, productive members of society.
When to use Extended Metaphor
Use an extended metaphor when a single metaphor is not large enough. Use it when you wish your audience to be enveloped by or immersed in your idea. Poetry and prose are equally good platforms for using this device.