2

All three quotations are from The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna, in case you're wondering.

p. 108:

I watched her face as the shades of knowledge deepened, the shift in emotion, the flare of relief, the flush of embarrassment that came with the realization she had mistaken the purpose to my last visit.

p. 115:

Side by side they stare at Agnes's journey mapped in colours and jewels.

p. 154:

All too soon I became aware that my mouth was so dry it was glued shut.

I know it's a stupid question but I'm not sure if any of these are metaphors or not.

  • 1
    I suppose the first two must be some kind of metaphors, since it doesn't seem likely these are literal usages. But I don't understand what shades of knowledge is supposed to allude to, or how Agnes's journey could be mapped in colours and jewels. So they don't work for me (but perhaps that's because I'm not reading them in the full context of the book). There's hardly any need to invoke the concept of metaphor in the context of dry lips sticking / being glued together. – FumbleFingers Nov 23 '15 at 21:57
  • Metaphorically speaking? – OneProton Nov 23 '15 at 22:02
  • 1
    #2 in particular needs more context to understand whether it's metaphor or not. For instance, if they are staring at a map inset with jewels to indicate where Agnes had been, there is no metaphor -- it's just a literal statement. – Hot Licks Dec 24 '15 at 1:35
  • @FumbleFingers, I suppose the "flare of relief" could be metaphorical...? – Tim Ward Jan 23 '16 at 3:25
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    @Tim: Assuming her face didn't spontaneously burst in to flames, I don't see how it could be anything other than "metaphorical", but precisely what image it's supposed to invoke isn't at all clear to me, from just this brief excerpt. – FumbleFingers Jan 23 '16 at 12:36
1

There is actually very little metaphor in the above:

as the shades of knowledge deepened, the shift in emotion

This is hard to say for sure, but probably not a metaphor. The writer is describing his/her interpretation of the changes in the person's facial expression, and this is direct observation.

the flare of relief, the flush of embarrassment that came with the realization she had mistaken the purpose to my last visit

In this case actual changes of facial coloration are being observed. In particular, most people are familiar with seeing people whose faces turn red with embarrassment, and "flare of relief" suggests a change in expression and color that could be associated (by the skilled observer of human behavior) with that emotion.

Agnes's journey mapped in colours and jewels

This is missing critical context. As I said in a comment, if "they" are staring at an actual map with actual colors and jewels identifying where Agnes has traveled then it's a simple literal description. If the context is something else then there could be a metaphor.

my mouth was so dry it was glued shut

This again is a literal description of the situation. At most it was hyperbole, but I have experienced situations where the "glued shut" description fit pretty literally.

  • Agnes's journey mapped in colours and jewels I don't know the book, either but this reads to me as though two characters are looking at a collection of mementos and keepsakes Agnes has collected over an eventful life or period of her life. The jewels and colourful objects would be real but the map would be a metaphor. – BoldBen Nov 19 '16 at 10:42
  • I added links to the quotations from the cited book, for context. As you can see (and as BoldBen surmised), the "colours and jewels" in the second quotation are literal, not figurative—so no metaphor there. – Sven Yargs Jan 18 '17 at 0:12
-3

All three quotes contain metaphors. Rule of thumb is if it doesn't look like a simile, personification, or hyperbole, it's a metaphor. And all similes are metaphors too: go figure.

shades of knowledge deepened

No idea what those are. This isn't a metaphor: it's just nonsense.

the shift in emotion

This is just straight prose.

the flare of relief

This is a metaphor, albeit a stale one.

the flush of embarrassment

Definitely a metaphor; also a cliche.

journey mapped in colours and jewels

This is a pseudo-metaphor. Kind of tacky.

my mouth was so dry it was glued shut

Not a metaphor. The verb "to glue" does not have to involve actual glue: it can mean any action that works on an object as if glue were applied. It does get metaphoric in such expressions as "I was glued to the screen."

  • But sometimes a statement is just a statement. You yourself say that the third quote is just a literal expression. Hence not all phrases fall into the categories of "simile, personification, hyperbole, or metaphor." – Hot Licks Dec 24 '15 at 1:30

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