A Brief Comment on Metaphor in English and American Literature

The so-called Anglo-American literature refers to literary works created by countries whose mother tongue is English. Reading English and American literature is of great help to people’s ability to appreciate literature. The reading and analysis of English and American literature should be viewed from an international perspective, and it is necessary to maintain an English and American literary work through a diversified perspective, rather than using a certain culture to define these works. When translating English and American literature, it is subject to cultural context restrictions and the impact of the different backgrounds of authors and translators. Therefore, it fully reflects the subjective consciousness of translators. There are many ways to adjust the cultural differences and differences in life background before and after translation. At the same time, in the process of reading English and American literature, readers often resonate emotionally and are willing to understand the emotions and meanings contained in the works. Reading often will give people a certain degree of ability to judge literary works. In addition, reading English and American literary works will help improve the English level of the readers, and help readers understand the Western culture, while at the same time being able to understand the emotions and meanings contained in English and American literature.

1. The concept of metaphor

Metaphors can be felt everywhere in daily life. In fact, everyone has the ability and consciousness of metaphor, and will occasionally show up during the usual conversation. From another perspective, the control of behavior and language is actually a manifestation of metaphor. The use of metaphors needs to be based on a physical object to better express its emotions. That is to say, the metaphor process is to imply other things through one thing. Metaphor is to compare common things to abstract things, and then to separate the true face of analogies from abstract things. In the metaphorical approach, the metaphor and the ontology are two important components, and the two parts are different in their original appearance and essence. If the two parts are the same, the metaphor cannot be formed.

Although there are differences between these two parts, it does not mean that there is no similarity between the metaphor and the ontology. It is because of the same point that the space of metaphor is built. In the process of applying metaphors, it is generally more abstract than the ontology and the metaphor. The main role of the ontology is to make it easier for the audience or readers to understand the content of the metaphor. The ontology needs to be more specific. Therefore, the application of metaphor in the role of English and American literature has made the language more vivid, and the emotions and meanings have become more profound.

2. The development of metaphor

Metaphorical techniques first appeared in the ancient Greek era, mainly used in myths and poems. Many philosophers are very interested in the use of metaphors in mythology and gradually apply them to everyday communication and communication. The metaphorical approach used by Plato has an ironic meaning and is known as the master of metaphorism.

Some literary classics describe the meaning of metaphors and explain the attributes and influences of metaphors in detail. Most of the research on these literary classics comes from Aristotle, which lays a good foundation for the use of metaphors in poetry. Aristotle once said that the so-called metaphor is the use of abstract things to express specific things, this interpretation has a very important impact on the development of metaphors.

In the early 20th century, metaphorical techniques were divided into four categories according to the specific content, and the effects that can be achieved when applying metaphors were analyzed. Some things were more vividly displayed through the use of metaphors. Aristotle is very fond of metaphors, but he is very rational in his use of metaphors for expression and creation. Aristotle believes that when creating literary works, once it contains metaphors, it must be more loved by people, but it cannot be used for use. This loses the original intention of applying metaphor. Only by rational use of metaphors and in-depth exploration of the meaning can make a deeper impression in the reader’s mind.

Since the emergence of the book “Rhetoric Philosophy”, metaphor has gained more attention, but in this work, metaphor is not a language, but a way to upgrade or change vocabulary. Seeing a principle of thinking that cannot be lacking. This work believes that virtually all derogatory words contain metaphorical elements, and all ideas have metaphorical nature. The author of this work, Richards, once said that the process of people seeing the world is actually a process of changing the meaning of the original language. This process needs to be based on metaphor.

3. Research on the Application Strategy of Metaphor in English and American Literature

3.1 Infiltrate with culture as a carrier

The cultural content and application metaphors in British and American literary works have mutual restraining and influence effects. In the process of applying metaphor, cultural elements play an important role. It can be said that metaphor is an important part of culture. Some experts and scholars have discovered in the process of metaphorical techniques and cultural content that there are traces of metaphorical techniques in all categories of culture, which fully demonstrates that metaphorical techniques have the function of reflecting social reality in culture. The use of metaphors can effectively guide people to establish correct values ​​and constrain people’s behavior. Culture is born in the masses and involves every individual. For people, culture can drive people’s ideology and guide people’s communication. The power of metaphor is very limited, and only through other forces can it be evolved and developed. The other force mentioned here is that cultures collide with each other. Among the works of Robert Floss, the most important feature is the use of metaphors to express certain abstract things in a language that people can understand. The language used in his works is very simple and easy to understand, but it contains profound philosophies that allow readers to be integrated into the context of creation. For example, the work of “Renovation of the Wall” uses a lot of metaphors, including profound philosophies. Using the more common wall-washing content in daily life to elaborate on philosophy, it means that people should strengthen communication, otherwise it will form an invisible “wall.” When describing the process of repairing the wall, the wall is collapsed due to external factors, and the walls between the neighbors are repaired every year. Using metaphors to map things from one domain to another, the wall is mapped to the gap between people, referring to the invisible wall between people. This work is intended to express that people should cross this inner wall and achieve harmony and not be influenced by other factors. The application of this metaphor has fully demonstrated the impact of the Anglo-American culture on the normal communication and communication between people.

3.2 Interrelated with reality

Different cultural content forms different contexts in society, such as lifestyle, concept of life and belief. Metaphors have a certain impact on these content. Culture is composed of many elements. Research on these elements reveals that difference is also a very important part, which has an important influence on the application of metaphor and the horizons involved in the metaphor process. The elements that make up the culture mainly include thought, society, physical state and language. The physical state mentioned here includes economics and environmental science. Social attributes are influenced to some extent by metaphors, as are people’s psychology and beliefs, and at the same time have important links with their location and natural conditions. In general, cultural content consisting of multiple elements supports the use of metaphors, such as the use of the depiction of authors such as Evelyn’s plot in the work of James Joyce’s Dubliner. awareness. Challenge some social customs through certain plots and stick to self-worth. From this work, the spirit of protesting male hegemony can be found, and a clearer character image is created. The women in the works from the beginning to the courage of the late, fully reflect their contradictory mood in the social and cultural environment and struggle in the patriarchal society, want to have independent space and female authority, and very helpless, It can only be a victim of the social and cultural environment at that time. The opposition and war between men and women can be seen everywhere in this work, fully demonstrating the desire of women to protect their rights and freedom.


In British and American literary works, metaphor is a more common form of literary creation. Through the use of metaphors, the emotions that the author wants to express in English and American literature are better displayed. The literary value of metaphor is self-evident. In some British and American literary works, the author’s perspective determines the creation of the work. In general, through observation, metaphors are not only applied in literary works, but also into all aspects of people’s daily life. Gradually recognize the importance of metaphor, and explain the important spiritual and artistic value contained in English and American literature.