What's The Difference Between A Symbol And A Metaphor?
Politics and Activism

What's The Difference Between A Symbol And A Metaphor?

The answer may surprise you.


You remember the difference between a symbol and a metaphor, right? After all those years of being asked to describe in detail how the rabbit warrens in "Watership Down" were actually a symbol for the different governing bodies in the human world, you would think you'd have an idea.

Duh, a symbol is an object in the story that means something else, and a metaphor is a comparison between two or more ideas.

Great, but if I wanted the high school vocab quiz answer I would've asked for it. In higher education, professors want more from you, especially now that they know we use Google. They've adapted, and it's never been more terrifying.

A symbol is something that continues to be itself in a literal sense, but it also continues to draw more and more associations and meanings as the story progresses. In "12 Angry Men", the stifling heat in the jury room can also be interpreted as the weight on the shoulders of Juror 8. When the vote changes, the jurors are able to turn on a fan. In "Beauty and the Beast", mirrors are used liberally to symbolize the action of seeing yourself as others do, punctuated by Beast smashing a mirror in frustration. A metaphor, on the other hand, is when the author replaces one thing with another in the readers' imaginations. For example, the entire plot of James Cameron's "Avatar" and how it's a blue version of Pocahontas. Chihiro's parents become pigs in "Spirited Away" after helping themselves to food lying in the open in the middle of an empty town square. Metaphors can also be those figures of speech illustrating a comparison, like "Never look a gift horse in the mouth."

I think now would the appropriate time to lodge a formal complaint against everyone who is, for whatever reason, still talking about Augustus Waters and his stupid cigarette metaphor, precisely because it isn't even a metaphor to begin with.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Everyone remembers the first time they went to one of the Disney parks. Spinning in teacups and having Goofy wrap his arms around my 8-year-old self were some of my fondest childhood memories, and I'm surely not alone in that.

Keep Reading... Show less

These Superfood Beauty Products Show Kale And Matcha Work For SO Much More Than We Thought

Just another summer's day with a cold glass of kombucha on my face.

I've been vegan for about six years now, so a love for fresh vegetables and superfoods has now become a core part of my being. Don't get me wrong. I love my indulgent, creamy pastas and truffle fries more than anyone. But I keep most of my focus on eating clean and healthy so I can indulge guilt-free.

But I'd say about a large part of my diet has always, unknowingly, included superfoods. Being Indian, lentils, beetroot, garlic, ginger, and whole grains have been core essentials on the family dinner table since I could digest solid foods.

Keep Reading... Show less

Now that college is around the corner for most if not all young adults, students once shook by a pandemic now have to shift their focus on achieving their career goals. As if we thought we had it together already! As an NYC girl, I have always seen myself as a hustler, hungry to advance my career in journalism by having one skill: working hard.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 BBQ Essentials Every Vegan Should Bring To Avoid Summer Cookout FOMO

You'll have your whole family drooling when you bring these goodies over too.

All vegetarians and vegans can relate when I say this: summer barbecues aren't fun when there's nothing you can eat.

Keep Reading... Show less

Kourtney Kardashian has decided to leave "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" after nearly 14 years and although we saw this coming, it breaks our heart that she won't be there to make us laugh with her infamous attitude and hilarious one-liners.

Kourtney is leaving the show because it was taking up too much of her life and it was a "toxic environment" for her.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments