Using Analogy as an Expository Device

Using Analogy as an Expository Device

Using Analogy as an Expository Device Analogy An analogy is a special form of comparison that you can use to explain something abstract or difficult understand by showing its similarity to something concrete or easy to understand. Unlike the comparison and contrast essay

where you need to make sure both subjects belong to the same general class, in analogy you and your reader are only concerned with one of the subjects; the second serves just to help explain the first. The two subjects, which may have little in common, also do not belong to the same general class. Example the universe compared to raisin bread James Trefil, The Dark Side of the Universe

If distant galaxies are really receding from the earth, and if more distant galaxies are receding faster than more distant ones, a remarkable picture of the universe emerges. Imagine that the galaxies were raisins scattered through a rising lump of bread dough. As the dough expanded, the raisins would be carried further and further apart from each other. If you were standing on one of the raisins, how would things look? You wouldnt feel any motion yourself, of course, just as you dont feel the effects of the earths motion around the sun, but you would notice that your nearest

neighbor was moving away from you. This motion would be due to the fact that the dough between you and your nearest neighbor would be expanding, pushing the two of you apart. Why Use Analogy? To compare two things that are similar in some specifics but otherwise unlike. To explain a complex, abstract, or unusual subject in familiar and easy to understand terms.

To speculate about possible interpretations and consequences. Example One To explain how an electromagnetic field transmits radio signals from a stations transmitter to the radio in a listeners home or car, physicist Richard Feynman asked his readers to imagine two corks floating in a pool of water. If we jiggle one cork, the waves in the water transmit the influence of our action and the second cork begins to jiggle. Like the

water, an electromagnetic field transmits energy from sender to receiver in the form of waves electromagnetic waves- conveying signals, a television picture, a radar image, or even plain light. Example Two To explain a conclusion that jazz has influenced and will continue to influence modern music of all kinds by comparing the jazz tradition to a tune that plays in the back of your mind all day, affecting your mood, the rhythm of your walk,

and your tone of voice. Jazz is a presence in the minds of composers and performers that shapes their choice of harmonies and rhythms, influences the tone of their compositions and the choice of instrument, and makes hipness an attitude in which many of them aspire. Important An extended analogy must be logical and serve as the framework for detailed explanation.

Effective analogies must be understood easily by readers, and as a writer, you must explain the analogy with its implications. Structure: Point by Point Tentative Thesis: We can better understand corporations by viewing them as if they were large, extended families. Point 1: Employee ranks are similar to family roles (CEOs, board members = grandparents; VPs = parents).

Point 2: Different parts of the company are similar to different parts of an extended family (main office = nuclear family; branch office = families of uncles, aunts). Point 3: Conflicts over resources within a company are similar to rivalry among cousins or struggles over a will. Point 4: Struggle over advancement in a company is similar to sibling rivalry. Point 5: Training programs aim to help

employees for the good of the company while therapy tries to maintain family unity. Example Three You can say that the world is like an overcrowded lifeboat. You must explain that the lifeboat is in danger of sinking, unless the number of passengers is reduced or the craft gains extra flotation power. And then you need to point out the implications: the world is overpopulated, and we must either limit population growth or

increase our ability to sustain and feed people without destroying the environment and sinking the boat in which we are traveling. Class Discussion Compare the art of war to the game of chess. Topics Analogy-symbol (What theme could it illustrate?):

A freeway at commuting time

Building a road through wilderness A merry-go-round A wedding or divorce A car wash Flood destruction of a levee An animal predator stalking prey A baseball game An oasis A duel An airport

Topics Themes (What analogy could you create?): A well-organized school system Starting a new business or other enterprise Learning a new skill Todays intense competition for success Dealing with stress The results of ignorance

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