Magical Metaphors

Contributor: Lisa Attaway. Lesson ID: 12992

Have you ever heard of metaphors? Well, they are parts of speech that help your writing pop! They are the icing on the cake of writing! Examine some poems to learn what they are and how to use them!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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"It's raining cats and dogs!"

  • Have you ever seen it rain cats and dogs?

That would be quite a sight! But this phrase is not meant to be taken literally. It describes an unusually hard rain and is meant to to bring a scene or emotion to life.

This expression is an example of a metaphor.

Good writers and speakers use metaphors to make their poetry, prose, and language more colorful. Metaphors are a comparison of two unlike things in which no words such as like or as are used.

When reading poetry, prose, essays, or articles, the author uses metaphors to help the reader experience their purpose. Metaphors help you think with your imagination and feel with your senses.

Take a look at an example.

Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—

  • What imagery did the author’s words invoke for you?
  • What specific words helped you visualize this imagery?

Read the poem again. Choose the verse that the author, Langston Hughes, uses to compare two unlike things.

The author is comparing the mother’s life to a crystal staircase.

  • Have you ever seen a crystal stair?

It is beautiful! Smooth and filled with angles that reflect light, it can look slightly different every time you see it. By comparing the wooden stair to a crystal stair, this mother is showing a vivid contrast between an easy life and one that had significant challenges.

Look at another poem.

The Eagle
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

  • Which line contains the metaphor?

Lord Tennyson is comparing the sea to a “wrinkled” piece of cloth like a shirt.

  • Did you get it?

Now, continue on to the Got It? section to see if you really understand!

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