Ok, so on with the post.
What effect do metaphors have on writing?
I can think of a few things.
1. When used for description, it adds flavor. Kind of like the salt in cookies. If you make cookies without salt, they taste horrible. But with the salt, they taste great, but your mind never registers a salty taste. I think metaphors do the same for literature. They add a special something, but no one notices it was the metaphors that added it. (Except I don't think descriptions without metaphors taste horrible.)
2. Metaphors lend themselves well to humor. If you want to make your readers laugh or at least be amused, you could use a hilarious comparison. The funnier metaphors I've heard read like jokes.
3. Metaphors can draw the reader into deeper thought about a particular subject. This is very important to me because I hate writing allegories. If the concept I'm trying to get across to a reader requires allegorical writing, instead I try to use a simple metaphor to clue the reader in that there is more going on than what's on the surface. I've always liked the beginning of the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. He talks about a turtle moving slowly on the road for quite a while. Then a truck comes and spins the turtle off the road. You might think this was boring, but he does it in a way that makes the turtle an obvious metaphor for one of the characters in the story. (He also described the turtle so magnificently it reminded me of a T-Rex!) Metaphors as foreshadowing is lots of fun.
4. Bad metaphors can show off a character's ineptness. If you want to create a character that gets on everyone's nerves, including the reader, just have him or her use cliche metaphors a lot and in all the wrong places, or even mixed metaphors and dead metaphors.
Any other thoughts on how metaphors are used? I know I've only scratched the surface here. Please comment!
I've changed things a little. In order to see the example, you'll have to highlight the text. That way you won't be spoiled with the example before your creative genius has a chance to think for itself. Unless of course you want to see it. Then you can just highlight.
Use these two things in a metaphor:
Eating American Chinese foood