Metaphors for War
The use of metaphors are an important factor
with any piece of literature. Metaphors add color to
creative writings, also establishing depth. A story
without metaphors is lifeless, unable to compose
another way to view it. The term for a metaphor is a
figure of speech in which term is transferred to
something it does not literally apply to, this helps the
brain create a mental picture which the person might
easily understand what the character is feeling.
When a person finally makes the connection
between the metaphor and the idea, the story takes
a deeper meaning.
In the story by E.M. Remarque, 'All Quiet on the
Western Front', you see a vast quantity of
metaphors to connect the characters thoughts
together. While reading this book, you may decide
to ignore the metaphors, by not truly understanding
the meaning they portray. In this, you fail to grasp
the emotions that the author relates to you in the
tale of the soldiers of the book. If you take the time
to appreciate what the author writes by using
metaphors the story will be more enjoyable.
Understanding metaphors is not always easy,
many people get similes and metaphors mixed up.
A simile is nothing more then a baby metaphor.
You must be able to pick out a metaphor in the
story, no matter how minuscule. For even though it
may appear small, it might be a lead to another far
bigger metaphor. Through this, the intended
meaning will appear.
When Paul the main character, refers to the
front as a whirlpool, this is quite a large metaphor,
with a deeply rooted meaning. "To me the front is a
mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far
away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex
sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapably into
itself" (Ch.4,Pg55) This is saying that though he is
not even close to the front, he still feels the effects
from his position. It creates the mental picture that
Paul is a boat in a large ocean, and far in the
distance the whirlpool is barely seen on the horizon.
Though slowly, maybe without him even realizing it,
he is being pulled towards the whirlpool. This is an
example of a metaphor and the mental images it
creates to help people understand the book.
The author also has a cage represent the front,
"The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully
whatever may happen. We lie under the network or
arching shells and live in the suspense of
uncertainty. Over us, Chance hovers. If a shot
comes, we can duck, that is all: we neither know nor
can determine where it will fall" (Ch.6,Pg101). This
is saying that the front is no different from a prison,
not really protecting the soldiers from the danger.
Also that it is nothing more the a cage of chance,
you may live you may die, you have to choice, only
chance. Humans may believe in chance but not
depend on it. With this metaphor, it describes the
how harsh the front can be, creating a image of a
bird in a cage. With these metaphors the front
begins to take shape and become more real to the
Metaphors help the reader produce a sense of
realism, which having the absence of metaphors,
you lose. If a someone's writing wants to be the
best, it must have a good usage of metaphors,
strategic placed, but if you abuse the function of a
metaphor, it horribly disfigures the work of the
author. People must realize to look past the shell of
the metaphor discovering its deeper meaning, like
the human, you must see past the way they look
and find what they truly are, only then will you be
able to understand them truly.