Simile, Metaphor, Allusion

A simile is when you say something is “like” or “as” something else.

» Xavier is like a little kid.
» Molly’s cooking is like a pagan worship ritual – mostly burnt offerings.
» The redwood forest is like a crowd of giants.

Metaphor is like a simile, but rather than use “like” or “as,” it says that one object really is something it’s not.
» Chantal is a real tiger!
» You’re such a baby!
» Asteroids are stray bullets shot from the cannon of the original Big Bang.

Allusion is not something done by a magician – that’s an illusion. Alluding involves an indirect reference to something not specifically identified but expected to be recognized. If your friend drops his voice a full octave and says “I’ll be back” in a foreign accent, who does it remind you of? Arnold Schwarzeneger, of course. That’s an allusion. Bite into a carrot and ask “What’s up, doc?” Bugs Bunny. Another allusion.

See how many of the following allusions you recognize:
» We always looked forward to Uncle Monte’s visit during the holidays. He would show up with his white beard, deliver toys from the countries he had visited during the past year, and shake when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.

» After sixteen hours in Jeff’s van, we finally arrived at the beach. I opened the side door slowly, and as I stepped out, quipped, “One small step for man….”

» Carrie was waiting for me on her front porch when I pulled up on my new motorcycle. She walked to the curb to give me a hug and I handed her the helmet. She strapped it on, opened the visor, and said, “To infinity, and beyond!”

» I don’t know how she always knew just when we would arrive, but Grandma was always standing on her front porch with one hand waving in the air to greet us as we pulled into the driveway. After the six hour drive with all six kids in the minivan, I half expected to see her holding a tablet inscribed with the words “Bring me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.”

» Duncan pretended to take a cigar from his mouth and spoke with a nasally voice, “Get away from me, kid, ya bother me.”

CATEGORY: Contrast
Posted by

    • Arya
    • November 20th, 2016 9:25am

    Thanks a lot dude. What are the last two allusions?

      • Shaun Roundy
      • November 20th, 2016 4:57pm

      The Statue of Liberty and WC Fields, a sarcastic 1920s comedian famous for phrases like:
      A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.
      I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.
      Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.

    • Cat
    • November 12th, 2017 7:29pm

    Does an allusion have to reference the thing by name?

    ex: he gave out toys like Santa
    ex: he gave out toys with a white beard and a red suit

    which one?

      • Shaun Roundy
      • November 13th, 2017 3:36am

      Allusions do not reference the thing by name. You allude to it without mentioning it directly. Your first example is a similee since it uses the word “like.”

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