Picture Perfect Analogies

by TJefferson

After introducing the concept of analogies, students are challenged to find visual representations. Students use magazines to make connections between pictures and use them to create analogies of their own.

Editor’s note:

Help students understand that using an analogy can make something unfamiliar more familiar or more easily understood by highlighting similarities, such as with the analogy of the heart as a pump.

Working alone or in small groups, students will see surprising and interesting connections in otherwise unrelated objects, but to get them started, you may wish to provide a list of words or have a few samples to distribute, such as the word "Life" accompanied by an image of a book, and the explanation that each day in a life is analogous to a page in a book.

Or you might provide an image of a brain accompanied by a circuit board and ask how the circuit board is analogous of the brain.

If the students are adults, you might ask them to look through magazines and come up with new analogies they have never heard or read elsewhere, in an exercise designed to stimulate the imagination and encourage literary comparisons that will make writing more original.

Related Activity:

You might also introduce famous literary analogies and ask them to find similar examples of their own from literature.

Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” (1927) is rich with potential analogies:

The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun.

In these first two sentences, the hills are analogous with a pregnant belly, and the train rails are analogous of the decision the couple is trying to make, each side separate from the other and the train running in two directions. These two initial images are the subject of the entire story.

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