Friday, June 5, 2009

Metaphor, symbol and motif

Nothing again today. I've been reading some stuff for a workshop with the guys from my old studio. Very interesting, makes me want to write some prose. Meeting with Chris in 2 hours and 4 minutes.

..three minutes later...

Actually, I will briefly talk about the Jay Parini essay I read yesterday about metaphor. It wasn't particularly engaging except he talked about the difference between symbol and metaphor and the major difference seemed to be that a symbol has an inherent metaphorical impact so that it doesn't need to be directly compared, like instead of saying 'her eyes, her diamonds' you could just say 'her diamonds sparkled' and supposedly if the symbol is well chosen the reader will get the significance.

So in that way are they cliched metaphors that don't need to be explained any more? Can they be fresh symbols? I guess they could, but they would need to be alluded to over a longer period, like in a novel or something, the repeating symbol of a cardboard box might come up, and even though there is no obvious cliche metaphor (like for say roses or diamonds) to associate with that the repetition might give it one. A prison, transport, empty packaging? But is that then a motif? What is the difference between a symbol and a motif?

Also, what about the idea that a symbol must firstly be an ordinary thing before it is a metaphor. i.e. The symbol in the story is firstly a thing, a flower, a gem before it is the metaphor, a woman, someones piercing eyes. Do metaphors only exist as a reference to something else? Do they ever exist on their own? Even though the reader should(?) know it is a metaphor, is the a split second when it comes to life as it's own being before being joined with the other thing?

I don't know. It is interesting to consider though.

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