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Analogy? Metaphor? Allegory?

  1. Jan 12, 2004 #1
    Not sure of the right word here...

    If I were to use the game of pool (8-Ball) to illustrate the similarities of otherwise dissimilar concepts, what would I be doing?

    The character is shooting a game of pool and talking about how life is very much like pool, and goes on to explain why.
    Then he uses this 8-Ball and Life analogy(?) to demonstrate what Einstein was missing in his Grand Unified Theory, and goes further in using this method to show how Einstein's theories can further be related to pool.
    Then he takes this a step further explaining how the Hindi Akasha ties into all this (as in also being similar to pool, plus how it is more literally related to what Einstein was missing, and how it is similar to pool in the same way that life is).
    He wraps it up explaining how what Einstein was missing from his theories was the same thing that was missing from his Pool game (he used to shoot pool with Einstein) and if he had put his theories together with the Akasha, he would have found what was missing from his theories.

    It all sounds like a big convoluted mess, but (believe it or not) it actually does all tie in together pretty elegantly.

    The question I have is what figures of speech are involved with this?

    I think the game of 8-Ball would be a metaphor for these other things, but I am not sure. Does it make a difference that he doesn't just compare two things, but he takes a bunch of things and shows how they are all related to each other?
    Is the whole story an analogy?

    What about the middle steps?
    When he explains how the missing piece from Einstein's theories is the same thing as what was missing from his Pool game, what would that be? I think that sounds like an analogy.

    I used to have a document that someone I used to know sent me.
    It had an outline of all the figures of speech, how they were defined, how they were used, the subtle differences between them and some good examples of each type.
    Does anyone know where I can find good information like that about the different figures of speech online?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2004 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    If you use the word "like" or "as" in the comparison, its a simile (fly like the wind). If you use the word "is" or otherwise say something is something else its a metaphor (I am still just a rat in a cage). Both are ways of expressing analogies (your definition was almost verbatim from the dictionary: "to illustrate the similarities of otherwise dissimilar concepts"). An allegory is a personification of an abstraction (the scales of justice statuette).

    All of these can be used in your comparison.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2004
  4. Jan 12, 2004 #3
    Excellent and correct, Russ_Watters.

    In situations like this, One_Raven, where you have terms whose meanings are confused in your mind, you needn't search for a specific chart. A common dictionary will clear up the differences. Here is a good online dictionary that gives comparative definitions from several separate dictionaries:

    OneLook Dictionary Search
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