Essay writing hints - Drawing Analogies
An analogy is the special writing technique that involves a kind of comparison with the intent to explain something that is unknown in a way that is easy to know, and that explains the unfamiliar in such a way that is becomes familiar. These writing techniques are widely used in college level essay papers. A good analogy will make it easier to understand a complicated subject and help the reader look at something common in a new light. Analogies can be incorporated and used with any other writing technique as they are not a form of writing in and of themselves but rather a tool that can be used to improve on your writing.
An analogy works by comparing the topic you are writing about to something that is more relateable. A car engine can be compared to how a heart works and being successful in college can be compared to climbing a ladder to greater heights. To discover what analogies might work for your essays, you will need to apply an "as if" attitude to the topic you are writing about. Try to see it as if it is something else entirely. In each case, ask yourself, "What is it like?"
- Moving to a new neighborhood- it is like landing on a new planet or discovering a hidden city
- Starting a new job – it is like learning to speak a new language
- Quitting a job – it can be seen as if it taking off on a new adventure in an unknown land
- Reading a good book - it is like taking off and visiting a new world while never leaving home
- Getting out of debt – it can be seen as if you drop a heavy burden and no longer have to carry it
- Losing a close friend – it is like having a physical part of your body cut off
- Leaving home for the first time - it can be seen as if it is starting to write a new chapter of your life
- Making a speech – it is like facing a great fear with bravery and confidence
- Dealing with success – it is like winning the lottery or winning first place
- Dealing with failure – it is like losing the race or struggling to keep going when you stumble and fall
- Being in a car accident – it is like seeing your life flash before your eyes
- Getting up in the morning – it can be seen as if it is one of the most difficult tasks of the day
- Resisting peer pressure – it is like facing a raging storm and standing firm on your own foundation
- Choosing a college major – it can be seen as if it is planning out a world tour trip
- Having a baby – it is like seeing the world through a different pair of glasses
What Is An Analogy Essay?
An analogy compares two unlike things to illustrate common elements of both. An analogy essay is an extended analogy, which explains one thing in considerable depth by comparing it to another. Analogy essays discuss nearly anything, as long as the writer can find a comparison that fits.
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How to use analogies:
- As introductions for papers where you want to show how two ideas are parallel.
- To explain unknown/abstract concepts in terms familiar to or easily understood by your reader. For example when explaining the storage pattern for a Macintosh computer, you might liken the hard drive icon to a large filing cabinet.
Steps For Writing An Analogy Essay
1. Come up with an analogy
One-half of the analogy is the subject of explanation, while the other half is the explainer. For example, if you said growing up is like learning to ride a bike, you would be explaining something complex and subtle (growing up) in terms of something simple that your audience will be familiar with (riding a bike.)
2. Draw a vertical line down the middle of a piece of paper to divide it in half.
On one half, write characteristics of the explainer, and on the other half, the explained. Try to match up the characteristics. For example, training wheels might be similar to having to have lots of supervision when you are young.
3. Write a paragraph discussing the explainer.
Start with a statement like "Growing up is like learning to ride a bike." Then explain the stages of learning to ride a bike.
4. Write a paragraph discussing the explained.
Start with a statement that gives an overview of what the two shares. In the example above, you might say something like "Growing up also involves getting greater and greater freedoms as you become more confident”. Then explain the steps of the explained in a way that parallels the explainer.
5. Discuss the differences.
Sometimes there is a very important aspect of the explained that does not match up with the explainer. For example, in the above essay, you eventually completely learn to ride a bike, but you never stop growing up and learning new things. You may want to draw attention to this important distinction.
6. Review your choice of words for denotation and connotation.
The allure of analogies is such that they can lend themselves to exaggeration. Fight this tendency, as it will only jeopardize your credibility.