Comprehension skill: How to answer a metaphor question

17 10 2011

metaphor

• noun 1 a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable (e.g. food for thought). 2 a thing symbolic of something else.

How to answer questions on metaphors

Just like irony questions, adopting the right structure for your answer helps. Your answer will typically look like this:

Just like [idea in metaphor] [literal explanation of the metaphor], [corresponding idea from the context of the passage] [contextual explanation of the idea, linked to the literal meaning above]

Example 1
“leeching on the faith of the very believers he derides”

Just like leeches [idea in metaphor] are parasitic creatures that make use of others [literal explanation of the metaphor], the agnostics [corresponding idea from the context of the passage] are making use /taking advantage of the believers [contextual explanation of the idea, linked to the literal meaning above]

Example 2
“piggy-backing on the scientific achievement of others”

Just like how piggy-backing [idea in metaphor] means to ride on someone [literal explanation of the metaphor], the agnostics [corresponding idea from the context of the passage] are free-riding / relying on the scientific progress of others [contextual explanation of the idea, linked to the literal meaning above]

Remember, all the key literal elements and their corresponding contextual elements must be clearly paired in your answer, such that your answer looks “symmetrical” – the blue text shows one set of paired elements, while the red text shows another set of paired elements. 


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24 10 2011
Skills Digest 24/10/11 « Gee Pee Land

[…] Comprehension skills covering irony and paradox,  inverted commas and metaphors. […]

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