Written by David Hatz, Teacher, Coach, Statistician (ret.)

           An analogy is a commonly used literary device utilized by writers to compare two things. As explained by literaryterms.net,

           An analogy is a literary technique in which two unrelated objects are compared for their
           shared qualities. Unlike a simile or a metaphor, an analogy is not a figure of speech,
           though the three are often quite similar. Instead, analogies are strong rhetorical
           devices used to make rational arguments and support ideas by showing connections
           and comparisons between dissimilar things.

           While primarily found in literature and poetry, analogies abound in nonfiction as well.
When well-written and used appropriately, they paint a concise, effective, and accurate picture
for the reader. The most memorable are often recited in conversation. Below is one of the most
famous and certainly one of (if not most) repeated. And I’m guessing most of you are familiar
with it:
           “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
           By any other word would smell as sweet.
           So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called.”
           – Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

           As we all remember, Juliet is likening Romeo to the freshness and sweetness of a rose.

           Here are two more good analogies. Can you ascertain the argument each author is
           making? If not, perhaps you should bring them to the discussion table in your English

Example 1
Every choice you make is like spinning the wheel of fortune – sometimes you will get the result
that you desire, while other times you will end up with something you always hoped to avoid.

Example 2
Raising children requires the same dedication you would give to a garden. Nurture them, feed
them, introduce them to both light and dark, and have patience; and soon you will see them
grow into blooming wonders.

           Here is an example of an analogy in pop culture:

“My momma always said “life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna
get!” (Forrest Gump)

Some might think this is merely a simile because it begins by comparing life to a box of
chocolates. But it is an analogy because it provides further support and explanation for the
comparison, illustrating life has many choices and surprises, just like box of chocolates.

           There are also figurative analogies in which one simply draws a comparison between
two unrelated things to highlight a certain characteristic; but the author isn’t necessarily saying
the things are truly similar. Take, for example, the wheel of fortune example. If life were truly
similar to a wheel of fortune, we would have a lot less control over our choices and the
consequences would be unpredictable.
           If analogies are not already a part of your writing took kit, I would encourage you to
study them, and find good examples. But be careful. When you write your own, think them
through. Ask yourself, do your comparative images and descriptions effectively and accurately
paint the picture your crafting for your reader? Is the reader truly seeing what you want them
           I mention this because over the years teachers have shared student work that suggests
some budding writers possess “creative” imaginations – and not necessarily in a good way.
           I’ll end today’s post with examples of some figurative analogies submitted by high
     1. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality,
          like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy” comes on at 7 p.m. instead
          of 7:30.
     2. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it
          throws up.
     3. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s
          infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
     4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.coli and he was room-temperature Canadian
     5. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that
          was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
     6. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in the
          dryer without Cling Free.
     7. Her eyes were like stars, but not because they twinkled but because they were so far
     8. It was as easy as taking candy from a diabetic man who longer wished to eat candy.
     9. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
     10. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went
            blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in
            it, and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of
            looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

Hope you found them amusing and are laughing out loud.

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