Metaphor Analysis in Songs and Poems - A Paper Example

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Vanderbilt University
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Critical thinking
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A metaphor is a figure of speech comprising of an implied assessment, in which a word mainly used for one thing is applied to another. It provides similarities between the two ideas. Most authors use metaphors to illustrate an idea without coming right out and saying it. Readers are required to think about what is being discussed and come up with new meanings from different perspectives. Use of metaphors is often used as a method of teaching something at a deeper level since it applies figures and symbols. Furthermore, the expressions used in the metaphors are part of our cultural consciousness and are formed over a period. For example, when a person says eat our heart out he means that something is bothering them. This paper will analyze the metaphors used in T.S. Eliots The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Paul Simon's "The Sound of Silence." This paper discusses man's inability to communicate with other people with the aim of bettering themselves.

T.S. Eliots The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a modernist poem. The song is written by Eliot, an American but migrated to Britain in 1914. The song exhibits modernism because most of the people lived together in the city and even those who lived far away could be able to know what was happening with the help of the telephones, newspapers, and telegrams. Eliot wrote the book before the First World War when Britain was considered as the most modern country in the world (Eliot, 2015). Eliot was known to be a believer of the traditional and innovative poetic techniques, and this poem reflects that. The song is set in a large, unclean city. The speaker is a very desperate man who is bored and afraid of residing in the city. The speaker addresses a potential lover whom Eliot fears to approach because of the negative comments made by those living around him. The poem then moves to a physical setting of a cityscape and several interiors. Metaphors play a great role in this song as Eliot tries to express what he thinks through metaphors.

In lines 15-23, the yellow fog, and yellow smoke are associated with a timid cat. This passage illustrates how Eliot uses pictures and images of the natural aspects of the world to express impressions and moods about something. Most of the readers would ask themselves why the fog is yellow and what Eliot described with the yellow fog (Eliot, 2016). He uses the yellow fog to demonstrate the theme of time and how it has passed. It shows that he had time to think of what lies ahead of him and the many decisions that he had to make to better himself. Eliot compares the yellow fog to a tongue that is rubbed against a house.

In lines 4-7, Eliot talks about the sawdust restaurants, muttering retreats, and the half-deserted streets, which can be interpreted as metaphors. Eliot invites the listeners to walk with him to a street, which resembled a patient lying on a table in the hospital. This statement shows that the evening was lifeless and listless (Eliot, 2016). The cheap hotels and restaurants remind the speaker of his shortcomings and the reasons why he has not made any efforts to better himself or take a wife. The quote half deserted makes the streets sound sketchy. These streets have cheap hotels where one can only stay for one night after lacking other options. The sawdust in the restaurants absorbs the liquor that people spill after they get drunk

Paul Simons The Sound of Silence.

Simon in his song, The Sound of Silence compares his words to the silent raindrops. This song shows us how ignorance and apathy by people can destroy the ability to communicate even at simple levels. The song focuses on ten thousand individuals who bow down to a neon light that represents a shallow and fake culture (Harris & Saad, 2014). The author claims that there is no serious understanding among people if People talk without speaking and hear without listening." There were mass cases of prostitution, and everyone sat down staring at the neon light. No one attempted to disturb the sound of silence and discourage the act.

Simon says, But my words, like silent raindrops, fell" and "And echoed in the wells of silence." These two lines have a metaphor known as a simile. Simon emphasizes that the raindrops are life giving, revitalizing, vitalizing, and fatal. He says that they make noise when they are dropping to the ground something, which is impossible when the raindrops are silent. The use of the words fell and echoed, is contradicting. This is because raindrops are not silent mainly when associating them with a loud echoing sound (Simon, 2016). Silence denotes stillness and death something that is portrayed in the quote above. The quote above shows that the spoken words are ignored and become quite and silent but the speaker views them as thundering and loud. Furthermore, the quote indicates the feeling of the speaker about how his words are interpreted by others. This arouses loneliness, desperation, and longing attention for people to hear from him despite the silent cries. Simons words can also be life giving because raindrops are drops of water and water is a source of life, but much of it can be lethal.

The quote the wells of silence compares silence to wells. Wells can be a source of life, a source of death and source of hope. By comparing silence to wells, Simon illustrates that silence connects life and death. Silence can be said to be the angel of death from the book of Exodus, which comes to take the souls of people thus causing death. When life is flourishing, the angel of death will be there to trim the earths abundance. On the other hand, the well is the planet earth where life starts. The well is the primary source of water to people and keeps them living in the land. Wells are seen as the source of hope to achieve a dream (Simon, 2016). When they are viewed being silent, it kills the dreams of all people who depend on it thus losing their personality and hope for life. The word well in the quote signifies the death of hope and not life. When wells are silent, people will no longer have confidence, and their voices would no longer be heard. In conclusion, words used in this poem tell us that if there is no meaningful communication, we should only expect the sound of silence. Moreover, the author insists that for people to succeed, they must be ready to express their opinion on the various issues affecting them.



Eliot, T. S. (2015). The song of love by J. Alfred Prufrock (1915). CUADERNOS HISPANOAMERICANOS, (779), 124-128.

Eliot, T. S. (2016). The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. New Canadian Library.

Harris, J. H., & Saad, M. (2014). The sound of silence. Financial Review, 49(2), 203-230.

Simon, P. (2016). Lyrics 1964-2016. Simon and Schuster.


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