Critical Thinking Essay

Submitted By sonofsimpson
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Pages: 6

Assignment 2: Figurative Language versus Literal Language
January 27, 2013

Figurative language is a means of saying something other than in the literal meaning of the words. The writer uses other images, usually unusual ones, to make a comparison between unlike things so that their similarities present a different, but revealing way, of looking at the subject. (NorthlandCollege.edu)
Idioms are groups of words whose meaning is different from the ordinary meaning of the words. The context can help you understand what an idiom means. For example: "Put a lid on it." Our teacher tells us to put a lid on it. She's not really telling us to put a lid on something but to be quiet and pay attention. A literary analogy is a comparison in which the subject is compared point by point to something far different, usually with the idea of clarifying the subject by comparing it to something familiar. Analogies can provide insights and also imply that the similarities already present between the two subjects can mean even more similarities. (NorthlandCollege.edu). Phases like: “The relationship between them began to thaw which means that the relationship was changing or you are as annoying as nails on a chalkboard meaning you must be pretty annoying for someone to say that. I am going to be toast when I get home and this is usually said when someone is in trouble with their significant other. These phases are used a lot sometimes too often and we many realize the context at the time.
Metaphor is a comparison of two unlike things, as in “My boss is a dragon.” The purpose of the metaphor is to use the qualities of the one element to illustrate the qualities in the other. For example, in the above metaphor, the boss, by being compared to a dragon, is illustrated as someone who gets angry, destroys what is in front of her or him, and even hoards treasures. When reading poetry, look for such comparisons and interpret them according to what they have to say about the subject of the poem. Metaphor is never taken literally because to take them literally would create a nonsensical image. [ (NorthlandCollege.edu) ]
Simile is comparing two unlike things (usually nouns) by using or implying like or as. For example, Emily Dickinson uses a simile in Poem 1263 when she says, "There is no Frigate like a Book." The purpose is the same as with all tropes in that the comparison must be taken figuratively and never literally. In Dickinson's poem, she is comparing a book (the subject of a poem) to a frigate to indicate that the book, like a frigate, can carry a person away. If you said, "My sister is like a doll," or maybe, "My brother's good as gold," you would be making a simile - a form of comparison in which one thing is compared to another unlike thing by using specific words of comparison like, as, and resembles. Poets try to find unusual metaphors and similes. [ (ThinkQuest.Org) ].
Cliché can be two things an overused expression, something that is said a lot that has become some common, it no longer really has any relevance or is even noticed in conversation. Phrases such as “to this day” or “next thing I knew” are examples of such a cliché, and you often say these phrases without noticing you are doing so or an idea with a different meaning from its literal meaning. For example, the phrases “sweaty palms” or “twinkling eyes” have come to mean more than the fact that your palms are just sweaty or that your eye's have a twinkle. When you say someone has sweaty palms, everyone knows you mean "he is nervous" because the expression has become a cliché. [ (LoveToKnow, 1996-2012) ].
Amphiboly is defined as a fallacy or deception that relies on an ambiguous word or grammatical structure to confuse or mislead an audience. The carelessness may be intentional, as in the case of the title of the record album Best of the Beatles, which misled many people into buying it, thinking they were getting a record featuring the best songs of the…