What are some metaphors in "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote?

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lynnebh's profile pic

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Here are a few:

1.  "the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar" (this could also be an example of personification, but only if it is the roar of a person - I see it as the roar of an animal, perhaps a huge bear, and thus metaphor)

2. describing a hat, "a straw cartwheel corsaged with velvet roses"

3.  Dusk turns the window into a mirror

Remember that a metaphor is a comparison without using the words "like" or "as" (which would be a simile), so look for things that create a picture in your mind of something else, as in the case of the window. It is not a mirror, but at dusk, it looks like a mirror. Writing "dusk turns the window into a mirror" however, is a much more beautiful way of making the comparison.

ruta-1's profile pic

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First one is the description of older woman, cousin to the narrator:

"She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen" here the narrator compares the older woman to a bantam hen known for being small and energetic.

Another one is:

"... Christmas time of year that exhilarates her imagination and fuels the blaze of her heart," here the the character's imagination is being likened to a blaze in a furnace (of her heart).

merisarose's profile pic

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Describing a hat, "a straw cartwheel corsaged with velvet roses"

eleanora's profile pic

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Metaphors are all around us in everyday speech; when someone says, "You're a rockstar," for example, it's a metaphor—because, sadly, you're not really a rockstar. It's just a more interesting way to say, "You're great!" So a metaphor is just one type of what you've probably always called a figure of speech, like when you call someone who's really boring a "stick in the mud" or a "wet blanket."

A metaphor is a tricky balancing act: if it's too similar to what you're describing, it won't be interesting. If it's too different from what you're describing, it won't make any sense.

It's also hard for a writer to come up with new and original metaphors; when everyone's already heard them a million times, they become uninteresting and what we call cliché—like all of the examples above! That's why Truman Capote's metaphors are so interesting. They fit their situations perfectly, and he made them up based on the way he saw the world.

Let's think about the elderly woman's "cartwheel" hat early in the story. It seems like a metaphor to us—a big, round hat like a cart's wheel—but in the 1950's, cartwheel was a common name for that particular type of hat. So to Truman Capote it wasn't really a metaphor. But, then, think about this: way back when those hats first came into style, their name began as a metaphor, because that's what those hats reminded somebody of! Language is always changing!

Have fun looking for metaphors! They're everywhere! And don't get confused if you see some metaphor-like figures of speech that have the words like or as in them. They're called similes—like the word similar—and they compare two things, using like or as. So instead of saying you are a rockstar, a simile would say you are like a rockstar.

Good luck!

andrew254's profile pic

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By definition, a metaphor refers to a comparison that is made without the use of words “as” and “like”, with the objective of creating a mental picture of something or situation. Truman Capote has used several metaphors in A Christmas Memory. For instance, Capote uses the phrase “a straw cartwheel corsaged with velvet roses" to describe a hat. Moreover, Capote has utilized metaphor in describing the cost of stamps; he observes that “the cost of stamps turned our purse inside out." Given that a price cannot factually overturn the walls of a purse, it actually led to the buyers using all their hard earned money. Thus, Capote uses the metaphor to describe the cost of stamps. Lastly, another notable example of metaphor in A Christmas Memory can be found in Capote’s description of how hard it was to make money. He observes that "We scrape together a nickel." By this phrase, Capote does not imply the physical scraping of the floor in search of money but the aptitude to earn adequate amounts to equal a nickel.

allie344's profile pic

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Here are some examples of metaphors, the definition of which is stated above in the previous answer.

"A person my age shouldn't squander their eyes"

Obviously, a person cannot truly squander their eyes as one would squander money, but in this case Buddy's friend chooses to look through her eyes at other, more wholesome, things.

"The cost of stamps turned our purse inside out."

While a cost cannot literally reverse the wall of a purse, the cost of the stamps caused the buyer to spend all their money.

"A brief rope of dilapidated, undoubtedly dangerous candy like light bulbs"

In this case, the string of brightly colored Christmas lights is being compared to equally brightly colored sweets.

"We scrape together a nickel."

Again, the speaker is not physically scraping the floor for money but is just able to make enough money to equal a nickel.

"Plunging through the healthy waist-high grass"

And finally, a person can't truly plunge into grass as they would a liquid surface like water, but in this case they are "swimming" is a sea of grass.

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