In Defence of Similes

All Ears

Last week, when a year 12 English literature student told me that a simile was “describing something using like or as” I was perturbed. Okay, so they were sort of right. But surely, in an English curriculum where an undue amount of time is given to explicit instruction of what a metaphor and simile is, year after year, writing unit after writing unit, surely a student should be able to tell me more than that.

Strictly speaking, a simile is, as a quick Google search reveals:

…a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid e.g. ‘Brave as a lion.

Succint as this definition is, it overlooks one vital point:; a carefully constructed simile is an opportunity. An opportunity to make the reader think about something in a way they’d never thought possible…

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