on metaphors


I have a thing for metaphors.

After I had quite the nerdy discussion with someone about similes versus metaphors, I got to thinking about why I like metaphors so much (yes, RB, those include similes ;)).

Here's what I came up with.

1) We use them everyday, and don't even realize it.

2) Because the imagery provoked by the metaphor communicates much better than just a sentence with adjectives, a sentence interpreted according to literal definitions and syntax, and I'm a visual person. (You could say that all words have their connotations and thus provoke a certain imagery, but I'm speaking of pictures.  You know what I mean...a picture paints a thousand words, right?)  This is the main reason I use metaphors in poetry so often.

3) They make me think, and if you know me well, you know I like to think.  A lot.

The problem with metaphors, though, especially with many literary pieces (and this is why I scored higher in the math section of the CBEST than on the reading section...stupid multiple possible interpretations!), is that they sometimes contain so many different possible interpretations, one could spend years debating.  But guess what?  Most likely (meaning, there are exceptions), you will never know the real meaning and intent of the metaphor unless you are the author of said metaphor.

So, the very thing I love about metaphors is the very thing that sometimes annoys the crap out of me.  What gives?