Anned One More Mention

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"Another and better way of communicating joy is the following simile: "She felt as if she had just won the lottery."  Because readers easily understand the disbelief, excitement, exhilaration, and delight that such an event would bring, they also understand - and feel - the character's happiness.  It is the simile that evokes this perception and enables each reader to personalize the experience, for no simple description could help a reader comprehend the same degree of emotion" (140, emphasis not mine).
                                     Edgar V. Roberts, Writing About Literature

I feel like I'm always blogging about this, so I'm only going to mention it: Roberts details a different aspect of showing versus telling.  I had never heard of it before this year, so I'm starting to doubt the quality of my high school education since both Dr. Jerz and the textbook emphasize the idea so much.  Moving on...

"When I left Queen's [College] my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road.  I thought I could see along it for many a milestone.  Now there is a bend in it.  I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does.  It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla.  I wonder how the road beyond it goes--what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows--what new landscapes--what new beauties--what curves and hills and valleys further on."
            L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

It's probably extremely geeky to have a favorite simile and metaphor, but since I like to embrace the geek in me, I will admit to having one of each.  The reason I love this paragraph from chapter 38 of Anne of Green Gables is Montgomery's use of both simile and metaphor to express Anne's opinion at the time.  When Anne graduated from college, she was awarded a full scholarship to Redmond College to pursue a B.A. in English.  However, unfortunate circumstances got in the way and she decided to give up her scholarship to stay at home and help her guardian, Marilla.  In this paragraph, she explains her acceptance of the circumstances around her using simile and metaphor, something he does basically every time she speaks or thinks.

If Montgomery had written this paragraph as, "When I left school I knew what I was doing.  Now I don't, but I'm going to hope for the best to happen," the passage would be extremely boring and less artistic.  However, the simile and metaphors allows the reader to feel a bit of what Anne is feeling.  The possibly upcoming changes seem much more exciting and positive rather than unfortunate.  It almost makes me want to experience change, just so I can feel that "fascination," and that's the success of the metaphor.

PS: Thanks to Josie, I am now aware that there is a previously unpublished ninth book to the Anne of Green Gables series that was published on Monday, October 26 entitled The Blythes Are Quoted.  Who else is excited?

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2 Comments

Josie Rush said:

Wonderful metaphor choice, Karyssa. I also hadn't heard the "show don't tell" side of writing. Maybe they wait to tell you until they think you can handle it? heh. Anywho.
I think the simile works for a different reason than the examples Roberts gave at the begining of the section. He focused on similes and metaphors with a more emotional connection. We could imagine how excited and shocked winning the lottery would make us, for example. Or we could guess how happy we'd have to be in order to jump for joy (it would take more for some of us than others). The simile you gave us works on a visual, logical level. We can picture the bend in the road, and we can imagine imagining (heh) the unseen wonders that are hidden. A bend in the road doesn't really exert any initial feelings in us like winning the lottery. Yet the emotional connection is still made. I guess my point is there's more than one way to skin a cat...wherever that expression came from.

Thank you, dear Josie. If Montgomery had simply used the bend in the road metaphor without the descriptive imagery, it would be far less inspiring. I think there needs to be a combination of several literary techniques when using metaphors in order to cause the greatest reaction in the reader.

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Karyssa Blair on Anned One More Mention: Thank you, dear Josie. If Mont
Josie Rush on Anned One More Mention: Wonderful metaphor choice, Kar