Basic craft : Figuring out figures of speech
The development (or encouragement, or recognition) of figurative language -
ways of measuring the world and expressing shades of meaning through
imagery - both adds breadth and depth to the work and extends the ability
to explain thoughts and ideas.
Although everyone makes use of comparative language and sound effects in
everyday speech, many, especially children, hardly use them in their writing.
The games are intended to recall the uses to mind; there is no necessity for
a poem to employ them but they are useful and being aware of them is
important, if only to stop them being lost or censored in the journey between
spoken and written.
The games cover the most common and useful figures.
Metaphor: What is it, like?
Since this game is about the metaphor, any two lists of nouns (one short,
one long) collected as in AS..AS (below) will serve as a beginning, but an
alternative visual start is from blown-up pictures, black and white only and
as unrecognisable as possible. Once these have been displayed or as they
are passed around, players should write down what they think the picture
represents. Then the subject of the picture is revealed and written down.
This also provides, for each picture a noun and a list of nouns.
a COW is a COOKER
or            a BALLOON
Now, how could COWs be said to resemble, say, COOKERs?
Where is the similarity, and what other words will help to show the
Are there any verbs or adjectives that will help? How could the sentence
The HOT COW is a STEAMING OLD BROWN COOKER.
The COW is a WOBBLY BALLOON, HELD DOWN BY THE ROPE ROUND ITS NECK.
The choice of nouns is not important, discovering limits is useful. If a
comparison is ridiculous, overstretched or impossible this is all to the good.
Words can be discarded or substituted freely until connections are found.
The metaphors can be treated as riddles which everyone can help to solve.
Discussion should always involve the recognition of metaphor in everyday
speech, including the validity of such statements as 'He's a pig' or 'You're
all cheeky monkeys'.
For further information on this sort of game click on games listed under BASIC CRAFT in the INDEX side bar.