Share quotes from famous books or tips for budding writers.

A Guide to Understanding Implied Metaphors With Examples

Understanding Implied Metaphors with Examples
Whether you say in a downright demeaning tone that someone is a mule to act annoyingly willful or put it in a less ostentatious, indirect way by saying that someone brayed his reluctance, there's still one mule you can't stand and a subtle shift in the usage of the metaphor. Penlighten lets you know what an implied metaphor means, with the help of examples.
Sai Kardile
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
A metaphor that's dead!
Yes, you read it right, there is a type of metaphor known to the English language which is considered 'dead'. This can be ascribed to triteness that results from its frequent usage, which wrings all its vitality and rich imagery it was once impregnated with. Think of 'falling in love', 'heart of stone' or 'time is running out' and you will have 'grasped the concept'.
Metaphors are rich designs weaved into our tapestries of imagination. They exhilarate the artist in us and impel us to survey things in a unique way, a way that leads to unhindered and vast imagery. They can be reckoned as a redeeming attribute that salvages our language from falling headlong into bottomless chasm of banality and spiritless.
While a metaphor, as Merriam Webster defines is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them, an implied metaphor functions similarly but impliedly.
Read the following examples to get a more clear idea.

The frigid wind snorted across the dark woods.
Here, the sound of the wind is indirectly compared to a living person's noisy breathing.

Jenna lured Peter into her web finally.
Here, Jenna's enticing expertise is indirectly compared to that of a spider (way to go Jenna).

The boxer bellowed in anger and pain.
In this example, the boxer's deep, harsh cry is compared to a bull's.

House flies orbited around the rotten mangoes.
Again, in the above example, circling of house flies is likened to planet orbiting.
The world of poetry and literature is replete with implied metaphors, read the following examples to understand how writers and poets have employed this figure of speech to pack a punch.
Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
Robert Frost stamp
Before we tell you how Mr. Frost has employed the literal weapon under discussion to make his imagery rich and effective, allow us to give you a succinct idea of the poem. This is going to be one apple of discord, we reckon. As you'll read the poem, you will find yourself flung into a debate that basically argues over the end of the world (well, of course there's profound meaning buried underneath it), but that's really morbid. So, the reason of world's gruesome annihilation could either be ice or fire, and hence the title. Have a look at the poem below, it's short and serious.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
In this poem, Robert Frost indirectly compares fire to human desire and passion and ice to hatred. Having experienced both these intense human emotions, Mr. Frost expounds his viewpoint based on their cataclysmic nature; so remember a freezing spell is anytime better than a fire-making spell, but both are any day better than an avada kedavra, huh?? Hahaha, we thought we'll make this destructive atmosphere less intense by throwing in a Harry Potter red herring, any way. The good part is that Mr. Frost leaves it for the readers to decide which of the two emotions is potent enough to do the job, which is as good as asking if one would like to see himself vaporize or freeze and crack, which is still morbid.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston's 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' is a literary panoply of human emotions, in other words, it is love, hate, marriage, death, poetry, travel, gossip, et al, the usual hodgepodge rolled together, to make the master hodgepodge of all - life. A riveting read, this novel hinges on the sweet and swaying attribute of implied metaphor; have a look at our personal favorite mentioned in the following section.
"She could feel him and almost see him bucking around the room in the upper air. After a long time of passive happiness, she got up and opened the window and let Tea Cake leap forth and mount to the sky on a wind."
This line aptly describes how Janie perceives Tea Cake, her young husband. Janie, indirectly likens Tea Cake's buoyant, free spirit, and active personality with that of a deer; and how much his restless yet cheerful personality means a lot to her.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Portrait of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
If you ever felt like donating your skull while you were in the middle of reading Hamlet, please hold it on, because what we are going to tell you about this man who has brought you on the brink of making this grave grant, will hopefully, change your outlook about him. Jokes apart fellas, Mr. Shakespeare was many things other than tragedies, sonnets, poems, and histories; he was a funny man and a naughty one too, whose deliciously fecund imagination in matters of romance and carnality kept the Elizabethan audience regaled (and it will amuse you too, if you pay attention in your English class next time).

So, the following implied metaphor is taken from Mr. Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.

Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off!

At first, you will be at sea as to what exactly is happening here, don't be restive, just hold your horses and relax.
First of all, a man is limited by resources of his time, so when William Shakespeare uses 'vestal livery' to describe Juliet's frock, he can be forgiven. You must have heard people tell you to let go of your inhibitions, but, Romeo here, goes a step further and tells Juliet to let go of her, err, virginity. Because, he reckons that those who keep it look pale and green, uh-okay.

Romeo makes an implied statement here, by telling Juliet to shed off her 'vestal' livery (Vesta is a goddess of chastity and vestal as an adjective can be used for a woman for immaculate chastity), in other words to kill the goddess Vesta who he views as a stumbling block. Apparently, Rosaline was devoted to her (Romeo's ex-flame) and poor Romeo never really got to be the drone bee that gets to taste the sweet nectar of the flower. Hence, the assertion, people.