Nothing vexes an English minor more than trying to remember definitions. One sticky problem for me was trying to remember the difference between similes and metaphors. A simile stresses a real or imagined similarity (root words?) between one idea and another, while a metaphor ignores any similarities and plunges right into an equation or substitution. Since these definitions don’t actually make any sense, I had to use examples from real life. In my case, the examples I chose were lyrics from Tom Cochrane’s song Life is a Highway.
Life’s like a road that we’re traveling on
It’s one day in and the next day gone
Ah, see? Life is like a road, making this construct a simile.
Life is a Highway!
I wanna drive it all night long!
In this sentence, life is not like anything; it is something! A highway! Looks like we’ve found ourselves a metaphor.
And this helps the construction of Mr. Cochrane’s song. His simile, which is a mere suggestion, is the first line of his song, and not until after the evidence given in his first verse does he assert in his chorus that life is a highway. Of course, the song’s title does sort of give the game away, but hey, he’s Canadian.
Next week, we’ll study enjambment with the Four Non Blondes.