Sunday, April 21, 2019

Figurative Language and Metaphors

Figurative language appears in the most famous literary works. Using language in this manner allows the reader or recipient to paint an extraordinary picture. Religious texts may be some of the first examples of this type of style. They take concepts observed by the human eye and magnify them in a mystical and enlightening way. Figurative language often presents itself in the form of a metaphor. Hip-Hop is a genre of music with an endless amount of metaphor examples. Certain masters of ceremony or MCs have fans that anticipate an onslaught of metaphors and other forms of figurative language.

Listening for Metaphors

Metaphors are a form of figurative language that sounds outlandish when taken at face value. Artists such as, Big Boi have metaphors which are both comical and chilling. For example, “I’m cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.” The previous example is a relatively simple metaphor but loses meaning on the untrained ear. Polar bears live in cold environments, but some may wonder why Big Boi is comparing himself to this animal — in Hip-Hop, referring to oneself as cold means they possess an impeccable ability with words. So, comparing himself to the toenails of a polar bear speaks highly of his capabilities as a rapper.

Extending Metaphors

Certain Hip-Hop artists have taken metaphor to new heights. Lupe Fiasco is a prime example of an individual who can compare two things for an extended period without creating a simile. For example, “So when some shined through a hole that he had drove, it reflected off the gold and almost made son blind.” Outside the context of this song, this line probably makes absolutely no sense. In this song, an individual named Michael receives the blessing of resurrection and a second chance at life. However, as Michael becomes aware of the positive aspects of life, he returns to his present state of greed and conspicuous consumption. Extending metaphors is a form of advanced figurative language and can be amazing when pulled off correctly.

Saying Simpler Metaphors

Imagine you have recently watched your favorite X-Men movie and step on your child’s lego they forgot to put away. Instead of screaming out in agony, you digest this pain and say “I am Adamantium.” For someone that is not familiar with the X-Men, they would most likely think you were crazy for uttering this phrase. However, fans of Wolverine will most likely commend you for your self-control and resilience to stepping on something that hurts so much. Adamantium is the most reliable form of metal in this series and to compare oneself to Wolverine’s skeleton means you feel unbreakable.



Metaphors can be a writer or speakers best friend. After a particular time in one’s life, it is easy to say that you have seen or heard pretty much everything under the sun. However, an intriguing metaphor can shift your consciousness and prompt you to think of something differently. Figurative language has changed the world in various ways, and there will undoubtedly be individuals who take these devices to new heights.

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