A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar. To writers, the use of metaphors presents the challenge of explaining a thought in a way that is not ordinary to the reader, in a way that make the reader think outside-the-box to really get the meaning that the artist is trying to portray. Lakoff and Johnson explain it best when they say “metaphors are typically viewed as characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action” (95). In the poem “Dolor” the use of metaphors made this poem entertaining to me through the use of slang. Slang is a very informal use of vocabulary that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, and vivid than ordinary language, like when Roethke say “sadness of the pencils” show how sorry she feel for the pencil or “misery of manila folders”. These phrases are used every day and in a way become a part of what we consider to be the norm in speech or language and when used properly in literature, the reader feels connected to the author.
Relativeness make metaphors interesting, meaning that the audience the author is trying to reach can actually relate to the metaphor the author is using once the metaphor has been interpreted. As the author states, “the surrealist movement in art and literature is based on disrupting our habitual sense of reality so as to allow us glimpses of a deeper reality” (83). Robert Francis’s poem “Pitcher” describes what a baseball pitcher do in such a way that it becomes a metaphor for what a poet do, is just another example of the beauty of metaphors and relativeness, because I use to play baseball growing up, so after reading and interpreting this poem I felt a connection with Mr. Francis seeing that we both have a love for baseball in common.
The difficulty of using metaphors in poetry is connecting the concrete metaphor with the abstract metaphor. Concrete metaphors are used for illustrating concepts, while abstract metaphors link and abstract concept with an object. For example Theodore Roeethke’s “Dolor” uses plenty of concrete and abstract metaphors for the fact that we can actually see the box of pencils (concrete) but we cannot see the inexorable sadness they possess (abstract), we can see the manila folders