In Katy Perry's song "Firework", there's a line that goes like this:

After a hurricane, comes a rainbow.

I know that "hurricane" and "rainbow" are not metaphors, nor are they symbols. I was thinking "hurricane" would be a synecdoche and rainbow would be a metonymy. Is this correct?

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    What makes you think they are not metaphors? Hurricane could signify difficulty/hardship in your life while rainbow could represent happiness/hope/bright future, etc.
    – user140086
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 13:16
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    I always thought that a metaphor was a comparison between two unlike things. Hence why I was tending towards metonymy for rainbow, since a rainbow is loosely associated with luck/good fortune; as for hurricane, I was thinking it's synecdoche because it's a part of "disasters" and is used to represent disasters in general. If this is wrong, could you please explain why? Thanks! Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 15:49
  • Then, why do you think they are not symbols?
    – herisson
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 18:17
  • Unless we get some more context, we cannot even be sure the terms are being used figuratively at all. They could be meant perfectly literally. Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 19:35
  • @BrianDonovan Context is the lyrics here azlyrics.com/lyrics/katyperry/firework.html Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


You raise an interesting point in your comment about why you don't think it is a metaphor. It's true that a hurricane is just a type of disaster. However, that doesn't prevent it from being a metaphor for another type of disaster. A metaphor is a comparison between two "unlike" things, but obviously there have to be some similarities as well; that is the whole point of the metaphor.

The thing is, I actually wouldn't interpret her words as applying to literal hurricanes. As Rathony says, it's using "hurricane" to mean "a hard time in your life."

Anyway, if this is for some kind of English class, the only person who gets to decide what is correct is the teacher, so this may not be useful in that case.

  • Nope, this is just a personal inquiry for understanding the difference among the three. I was just trying to find real examples to associate with. I think I see your point. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 13:13

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