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The Everyday Life of Metaphors

In: English and Literature

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The Everyday Life of Metaphors
“To be aware of metaphors is to be humbled by the complexity of the world, to realize that deep in the undercurrents of thought there are thousands of lenses popping up between us and the world, and that we’re surrounded at all times by what Steven Pinker of Harvard once called ‘pedestrian poetry.’ ”
--David Brooks

When having a conversation with family, friends, or a colleague, are you aware of what you are saying? Are you aware of the devices that you use to shift the conversation in your favor or even to make your point more relatable? Contrary to popular belief, metaphors are a part of our everyday life; they are ubiquitous. We use them in everyday conversations more often than we may realize. Metaphors are powerful devices; often times we use them subconsciously, but they still manage to deliver the same validity. The aim of this paper is to bring the metaphors in our everyday life to light, by showing their explicit and implicit use in different areas of our daily life. Metaphors go beyond literature and transcend to other realms such as storytelling, spoken art, government, and advertisement. Before examining the everyday life of a metaphor, it is important to present its meaning and history to best explain how it became such an important part of our speech. Aristotle was the first to provide a scholarly treatment of metaphors and gives a detailed definition of the term ‘metaphor.’ He reports that a metaphor ”consists in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else; the transference being either from genius to specie, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or on the ground analogy.” (Poetics, 1954 ed., Ch 20). In the 20th Century, the term “metaphor” has expanded its scope and it has often been used as a shorthand term to describe any similarity or analogy. As discourse has become...

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