Identify the metaphor in the poem ''Oranges'' by Gary Soto.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that implicitly compares two different or contradictory things that happen to share a common characteristic. It is also important to note that a metaphor is usually regarded as different from a simile. Similes make explicit comparisons using the terms "like" or "as," while metaphors make implicit or hidden comparisons. Gary Soto employs a metaphor toward the end of the poem when he compares the boy's orange to a fire in his hands. Soto writes,
"I peeled my orange / That was so bright [. . .] Someone might have thought / I was making a fire in my hands" (52-55).
Oranges and fire have little in common other than their bright color. The boy's orange looks bright against the dark setting and resembles a fire in his hands. Soto's metaphor implicitly compares the brightness of both the orange and fire. The orange also symbolizes young love throughout the poem.
There are several metaphors, or comparisons, in this poem. One is Soto's description of the candies "tiered like bleachers" (this is technically a simile because it is a comparison that uses "like" or "as," but it is a form of metaphorical language in which one thing is compared to another). In this simile, the rows of candies in the store are compared to the bleachers in a stadium. Another example of a simile is "fog hanging like old/Coats between the trees." In this use of metaphorical language, the thick fog is compared to coats on hangers that hang from the trees and obscure one's vision. The last several lines of the poem are a kind of extended metaphor in which the orange that the narrator carries in his pocket and then peels is compared to "a fire in my hands." This fire could also stand for the warmth and love he feels towards the girl with whom he is walking.