Simile has been described as the sensible older sibling of metaphor. The suggestion here is that simile takes less risk in the act of describing something, is more judicious or well reasoned than metaphor and emerging writers can often feel more secure in using a simile in a poem in order to show, suggest or denote an object or feeling; where metaphor insists, a simile suggest. Poets have long understood that the purpose of simile is to describe something as it stands in comparison to another thing or object, thus Robert Burns famous simile O my Luves like a red, red rose,/ Thats newly sprung in June. It is a simple comparison yet it has endured over centuries because, in part, the simplicity is intrinsic to its appeal. Simile can help an abstract idea (in this case, love) appear concrete, tangible, even sensual. The simile conjures the roses colour (red) but also enables readers to bring other senses to visualize the rose; we can smell its deep rich odour, we can feel the fabric of petal and the pierce of the thorn. It has a synesthetic quality.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number