The complex aspect about metaphors — or any kind of literary technique used to compare or create meaning — is that there’s a second level of comprehension needed.
For example, the book I’m reading on how to write short stories cites a cliche metaphor of “sharp as a tack” (102). For me to get the meaning — namely that whoever is “sharp as a tack” is, I presume, very smart (is that right?) — I have to connect the idea of the sharpness of a tack to the idea of the sharpness of someone(‘s mind).
I’m not sure I’m being clear. But basically, metaphors function, for me, as
- this thing is like this other thing and here are those two things
- this thing being like this other thing implies a correlation, which consequently describes or adds meaning to the original thing
Does anyone else have to take a second step to process metaphors?