What’s a Metaphor? Cows

by S.C. Torrington on December 16, 2007

meadow.cowsEmily Dickenson is a little too flowery for my taste, but her poetry is ideal to use for our studies, especially as examples of metaphors, similes and personifications. And although I can’t articulate why I know those writing techniques are important in the education of Morgan, they are.

Granted you could read, “The hills untied their bonnets,” never identify the phrase as a personification, yet glean its meaning. But, I believe, the quality and depth of that visualization is enhanced by the acknowledgement of the author’s intent. Oh, she meant to do that…

So if you aren’t using a structured grammar or poetry program that explains those concepts, how are children introduced to them? Maybe unschooled kids read prose or poetry that uses such comparisons; they intrinsically get it and move on without conversation. Because I’ve never heard a kid ask, “Hey, Mom, what’s a metaphor?” Have you?

The same can be said for science—the three states of matter, the water cycle, potential vs. kinetic energy. Math, geography, history, language, literature, even music and art. Concepts build from and mutate into others. Can you appreciate Picasso without being aware of his admiration of El Greco? Probably. Would a kid know to ask who or what influenced Pablo? Would he care? And does it even matter? I don’t know. But all those Devil-in-the-details sure make for a more interesting story.

Knowledge is power.

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