This quote from the movie The Shawshank Redemption:

Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.

Can this passage be called a metaphor? If not, what word describes such a comparison?

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  • It's a metaphor. – Mitch Mar 11 '16 at 16:10

The passage is metaphorical. It is an extended metaphor, to the point that it could well be called an 'allegory'.

allegory, n.
2. A story, picture, etc. which uses symbols to convey a hidden or ulterior meaning, typically a moral or political one; a symbolic representation; an extended or continued metaphor.

["allegory, n.". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/5230?rskey=sqDbYO&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed March 07, 2016).]

  • Where can I find more examples of these? Can I use allegory to describe a routine event? – Sophia Mar 7 '16 at 10:33
  • @Sophia, yes, if you're clever that could be quite interesting. Sources of allegories...*Aesops Fables* comes to mind off the bat. I'll dig some out and link them. – JEL Mar 7 '16 at 10:35
  • @Sophia, many are listed at the about education, "allegory" site, along with more information about allegory. I happen to like the allegories listed in the second paragraph at that site, and the explication of allegory is competent. – JEL Mar 7 '16 at 10:39
  • @Sophia, here's an online collection of Aesop's Fables – JEL Mar 7 '16 at 10:41

Yes, that is a metaphor. Red is likening Andy to a bird. For a little additional context for others reading this, these two sentences precede that quote in the original Stephen King story:

There are others like me, others who remember Andy. We're glad he's gone, but a little sad, too.

Definition of "metaphor" from Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged:

a figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting one kind of object or action is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in the ship plows the seas or in a volley of oaths) : an implied comparison (as in a marble brow) in contrast to the explicit comparison of the simile (as in a brow white as marble)

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