Analogy examples in literature| 7 types of analogy


Analogy examples in literature and how the comparison between two things alike has been discussed there. Readers can also find 7 types of analogy in this article.


Originated from a Middle English word ‘analogie’ and borrowed from Middle French and Latin

It is a literary technique which is used for comparison between the two things, which are alike in several respects. It is a comparison of ideas in which a known idea or a thing is compared to another unknown idea or thing that is quite different from it. Reader can also observe analogy examples in literature on a large scale.

Purpose of Analogy

The purpose of analogy is primarily to show but also to explain.It also provides additional information of the text. It is an artistic device which provides deeper meanings of the context.

Why Writers Use Analogy?

Writers use this device in their work to link an unfamiliar or a new idea with common and familiar objects. It enables the readers to compare the new idea which may otherwise is difficult to understand.

The comparison is done in that way that audience easily understands the exact meaning and explanation of the topic.

Kinds of Analogy:

  1. Identical relation
  2. Share abstraction

Identical relation: This type of analogy is used to directly illustrate similar relationship between two parts of words, often for the purpose of logical arguments.

Example:  sociology: human behavior:: biology: life

Share abstraction: Comparison of two unrelated concepts to establish a connection between them. It make abstract ideas and concepts more concrete.

“What doctors do for the country: white blood cells do inside the body:

Doctors safe and protects the people while white blood cells protect and safe the body. 

Types of Relationship in Analogy:

  1. Part of whole                     (arm:body)
  2. Cause and effect               (accident: injuries)
  3. Person situation                (salesman: company)
  4. Synonym                           (arrogance: pride)
  5. Antonym                           (ugly: unattractive)
  6. Geography                        (bank: city)
  7. Time                                 (morning: evening)

Common Examples:

  1. Dog: barks:: cat: Meows
  2. Ear: hear:: tongue: taste
  3. Screen: T.V:: lens: Camera
  4. Oven: hot:: refrigerator: cold
  5. Mother: daughter:: Father: son
  6. Life: race
  7. Rain: Umbrella:: hungry: eat
  8. Fish: sea:: moos: Forest
  9. Boil: Egg:: throw: ball
  10. Author: writer:: chef: cook

Difference between Analogy, Metaphor and Simile

‘Analogy’ is the literal contrast between two things. For example, “He was as fast as a rabbit”

‘Metaphor’ is a comparison of word with object that is not literally otherwise. For example, “The book throws new light upon the subject of psychology”.

‘Simile’ is the comparison of two unlike objects by using the words as, so, like. For example, “He is as strong as a mountain”

Examples in Literature

“The Flea” by John Donne

“This flea is you and I, And this our marriage be’d, and marriage temple is”

The above lines are the explanation of ‘Donne’s thinking about flea who according to him has sucked blood from his body and the body of his beloved and now the flea has become their wedding bed. Here, the ‘flea’, the unfamiliar specie has been compared with the familiar ‘marriage bed’.

“Romeo & Juliet” by Shakespeare

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word woul’d smell as sweet So Romeo woul’d were he not Romeo called”

Here in the above lines, ‘Juliet’ is saying that she will love Romeo even if he changes his name just like the ‘rose’ who always smell even its name is changed.

“Macbeth” by Shakespeare

“Lif’e is but a walking shadow, a poor play, That strut’s and fret’s his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more It is a tale, told by an idiot, Full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing”.

Here the analogy discussed in the stanza shows comparison between the life and past. Fleeting that comes and goes.

“King Lear” by Shakespeare

The relationship of Gloucester with his two sons is analogous to Lear’s relationship with his daughter.

“The House in Paris” by Elizabeth Bowen

“Memory is to love what the sauce’r is to cup”

Here the analogy between memory and love, saucer and cup has been described. Memory grasps on love as saucer grips on cup.

Further Reading

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