Examine the use of metaphor in "Coach" by Mary Robison.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited down.  The metaphor for the Coach is used to express a breakdown of the unit.  Interestingly enough, the image of the coach is one who guides a unit, sees them through challenges, and creates them to stand up, one for all and all for one.  Yet, Robison's portrait is not even close to this.  The Coach's unit, his family, is falling apart around him and there is little he can do to save it.  He does not even realize that his wife simply wants her own space and his daughter is emotionally alienated from what is happening.  The metaphor of the coach losing control is evident in how he constructs his "dream team" of former players, developing and refining his roster, while his daughter and wife swirl around him, almost content to be emotionally dislodged.  The idea of the coach as a leader, someone who inspires, someone who constructs meaning is a metaphor that is inverted in Robison's story.  This coach is none of those things, struggling from mid- level job to mid- level job, with only a vain hope to be professionally adequate while a personal failure.  It is here where the metaphor of the coach is inverted to bring out the meaning of emotional alienation and the dissolution of the family as its logical results.

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