Lauren Kirshner, whose first novel will be published in Spring 2009, remarks:
I don’t know how I come up with metaphors. Anytime I’ve consciously “tried” to make a metaphor the result has been a little, uh, forced.
She gives examples of very bad metaphors, but it prompted me to think of some of the best ones:
Orwell’s Animal Farm uses animals as metaphors with great success. The pigs, animals which are usually regarded as inferior, are used to show the human lust for power and capacity for cruelty. While the horse, an animal which represents nobility for us, is seen reduced to the state of a commodity.
“(T)he greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor.” Aristotle in Poetics
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies, like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes. Robert Frost, Once by the Pacific
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animalsâ€”and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not meâ€”
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so. Shakespeare’s Hamlet
A woman is a person who makes choices. A woman is a dreamer. A woman is a planner. A woman is a maker, and a molder. A woman is a person who makes choices. A woman builds bridges. A woman makes children and makes cars. A woman writes poetry and songs. A woman is a person who makes choices. Eleanor Holmes Norton
Death is a distant rumor to the young. Andrew A. Rooney
Do you have a favourite metaphor of your own, and, like Kirshner, do you rely on intuition for your metaphors, or simply wait for them to arrive?