In Edward A. Guest's poem, "Myself," there are several examples of figurative language. In the fifth line, the "setting sun" is symbolic of the end of life. The narrator doesn't want to have to look back over his life when he is old and be disappointed in himself for making poor choices or for taking actions he should not have taken. He wants to be able to look back and be proud of who he was.
Guest continues along this line when he writes,
"I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself,
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one will ever know
the kind of person I really am..."
Again, he wants to live an honest life and to be who he really is rather than someone who is not authentic. The "closet shelf" is symbolic of a secretive life or one that is false.
A third example is a metaphor:
"I don't want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show."
Guest does not want to be compared to an "empty show." He wants to be able to look back and see himself as someone who did not put on a false front, someone who didn't bluff his way through life.
Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, you are using figurative language.
A simile uses the words “like” or “as” to compare one object or idea with another to suggest they are alike.
Example: busy as a bee
The metaphor states a fact or draws a verbal picture by the use of comparison. A simile would say you are like something; a metaphor is more positive - it says you are something.
Example: You are what you eat.
A figure of speech in which human characteristics are given to an animal or an object.
Example: My teddy bear gave me a hug.
The repetition of the same initial letter, sound, or group of sounds in a series of words. Alliteration includes tongue twisters.
Example: She sells seashells by the seashore.
The use of a word to describe or imitate a natural sound or the sound made by an object or an action.
Example: snap crackle pop
An exaggeration that is so dramatic that no one would believe the statement is true. Tall tales are hyperboles.
Example: He was so hungry, he ate that whole cornfield for lunch, stalks and all.
According to Webster's Dictionary, an idiom is defined as: peculiar to itself either grammatically (as no, it wasn't me) or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements.
Example: Monday week for "the Monday a week after next Monday"
A cliché is an expression that has been used so often that it has become trite and sometimes boring.
Example: Many hands make light work.
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