How does simile differ from metaphor (with short examples)?

Expert Answers
marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A simile is a comparison of two unlike things using a word such as like or as to compare the two things.

The fence posts stood like sentries between the two empty fields of grass.

The fence posts are not sentries. They simply hold the strands of barbed wire. Sentries are guards that usually watch gates of military installations. These two unlike things are tied together with the word "like".

The next comparison is a metaphor. Poets and playwrights tend toward metaphoric writing.

The Painted Desert is a jewel in the American West.

This comparison is a metaphor comparing two unlike things without a word in between them to let the reader know that a comparison is coming. The Painted Desert is a travel destination to be sure. But, it is not a jewel as we understand a jewel to be a gemstone of some sort.  Metaphors may be very flowery writing such as you might find in Wuthering Heights.

Emily Bronte's poetic vision is evident in the imagery used throughout Wuthering Heights. Metaphors of nature and the animal kingdom are pervasive. For example, the first Catherine describes Heathcliff to Isabella as "an arid wilderness of furze and whinstone," and as Catherine lies dying, Heathcliff foams "like a mad dog."

ljuniper1234 | Student

I also explain metaphor as the transfer of qualities from one thing to another.  For instance, in the sentence, "The football players thundered from the tunnel onto the field."  The players do not actually thunder, but the noise that they create, either with their mouths or their cleats on the tunnel floor, sounds like and therefore takes on the qualities of thunder.

freeca | Student

Metaphor-Is used for comparing 2 things