Stakes and the Introductory Paragraph

There is a distinct difference between “suspense” and “surprise,” and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean.

We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o’clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!”

In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed.                          

― Alfred Hitchcock


We want to write interesting things, and one way to do this is to build tension into our texts.

Alfred Hitchcock writes that in order to please your audience with suspense (or, I would add, tension) “whenever possible the public must be informed.” I am struck by how the right information well relayed can hook our attention.

Fiction writers commonly introduce tension by:

1) Establishing stakes,

2) Complicating matters, and

3) Sharing the right information at the right time.

I believe it is possible to use information in our essays to achieve both.

Ask yourself: What information can you share that will raise the stakes or, in other words, clearly articulate a problem? What information can you share that will complicate things?

Your essay does not need do-or-die stakes to be interesting. Sometimes the stakes can be subtle, for example, in Khullar’s “The Trouble With Medicine’s Metaphors” the title generates enough energy to get us thinking.

When we talk about stakes, we talk about why something matters and how much it matters. Take a few minutes, a pen, and some paper to brainstorm the stakes of your essay.

Whether or not these sentences end up in your final draft does not determine their usefulness. Every effort you put toward engaging these ideas, these texts is useful toward your end goal: in this case a well-thought, polished essay.

And the Introductory Paragraph(s)

Now that you have the stakes beneath the proverbial table, let’s turn now to the introductory paragraph as a whole. You may prefer to save detailing what you believe to be at stake for your closing paragraph. That’s okay, the key is to have what’s at stake in mind from the very beginning–to allow the central problem, the so whatto influence your opening paragraph (or paragraphs).

What’s important is that your introduction orients your reader.

These beginning paragraphs should establish context for these stakes, a world with boundary and shape. In fact, as the writer, you should use these first moments to:

  1. acknowledge the immediate context
    1. i.e. What conversation are you entering? What are the large issues and whom do they affect? In other words, what do they say? Write 2-3 sentences describing the conversation at hand. (Make sure you have a strong handle on whom you mean when you use the word they. Please also make sure you take special care to accurately represent this they.)
  2. introduce your internal context
    1. i.e. What is your paper’s scope? What all does your paper cover, and to whom should your paper matter?
  3. set expectations
    1. i.e. What is your intent for this paper? What are you trying to prove? (It’s perfectly possible to prove the urgency of a question) What path will you choose to prove it?

As you build your scope, you will want to strive for balance. Don’t zoom too far out. For example, unless you are writing about the dawn of time, don’t start your essay: Since the dawn of time… Don’t zoom too far in, either. Don’t try to cram in too many details right away. Think about the kind of introduction you like to read.

The Exercise (To Review)

After you brainstorm, draft your introductory paragraph.

Your introductory paragraph should orient the reader, and it does this by establishing an internal context.

A strong introductory paragraph checklist:

  1. Have I introduced my topic?
  2. Have I clarified my paper’s scope, and is that scope appropriate to my position?
  3. Have I indicated the stakes and or hooked my reader? (You need not detail every hypothetical dystopian future–this is an introduction. Pointing out a problem or an affected population can be enough.)
  4. Do I communicate my intent (Sometimes just knowing your intent, is enough. It will show in your writing. Ask yourself: What is the purpose–the driving direction? Where do I want to take this paper?)
  5. Does my intro paragraph have a clearly identifiable position statement? A position statement that uses clear, specific language to set an achievable course for the rest of your paper?

(Your position statement (thesis) may contain elements of all of the above! That’s okay!)

One Last Thing–Please don’t forget that writing–itself–is a processing tool. As you continue to draft your paper, your introduction may likely change. The purpose of your paper may shift or slide. Your scope may narrow. While drafting, you may realize a sense of urgency you previously lacked. You may stumble into a new solution. In this exercise, we generate words that will hopefully help us generate more words–which will, in turn, help us generate more words. And on and on. And onwards.


  1. About 1,735,350 new cases of cancer arise every year (Cancer Statistics). Many of these individuals may hear the phrases “we can fight this” or “cancer is a battle.” These are metaphors that connect to the military and they can negatively impact the physical and mental well being of any sick individual, not just cancer patients, and because of this everyone, including medical professionals, should look at possible alternatives to these kinds of metaphors. Anybody in this world has dealt with an illness either of themselves or a loved one and the metaphors that professionals or even families use can impact how they view their illness. To view a illness as a battle or war can lead a person to believe that to deal with this illness it is going to be a violent time in their life and war has endless amounts of outcomes and this can frighten a patient because they do not know their own outcome so they could assume the worst. This can set a patient up for failure as they are about to take this journey into recovery. This interpretation should be very important for doctors and family to understand and know so they can accomodate for the patient’s feelings and restrict themselves from using similar metaphors. Metaphors can also be created by an individual in order to make an audience perceive it a certain way but that is not always accomplished and the different ideas of what the metaphor means can have a negative effect on the audience. Lastly, if one of these metaphors is said to an individual with an illness and their emotional state is not the best, their emotional response can greatly impact their health as well.

  2. achase11

              Imagine living in a world where you have the capabilities to not only control your own thoughts, but to control the thoughts of those around you. Some may claim that “It’s impossible to control someone” which is entirely true physically, but metaphorically, this idea becomes a whole different ball game. Using the language of metaphors, you possess an entirely new set of abilities with the English language. You may simply use metaphors to compare two objects to one another or to something totally different, yet you also have the ability to completely alter someone’s perception on a specific topic for the rest of their life. Metaphors offer us a world of tools that we can establish through our vocals, hands, body, and mind. The most interesting aspect of metaphors that I find is how often we use them, yet how often we forget to use them when it matters the most such as a persuasive essay or a debate. Writers around the world frequently incorporate metaphors into their papers or novels to offer a rollercoaster ride of their topic and still we read their words, try to make our best perception of them but fail to interpret and understand their true meaning and continue on to the next chapter. I’m nearly certain, the metaphor assimilated into that last sentence was missed as well. This is the problem with those of us who read and communicate worldwide which is the simple statement that we’re missing out on the bigger picture. We’ll spend hours reading a book or talking to a friend, but in the end, how much have we actually gotten out of that reading or discussion and do we have the memory to be able to retain it down the road? Did we visualize the text and be able to generate a response? Did we absorb the words our friend delivered and did they intake our own input? The best way to approach this issue is to find the metaphor. That said, take a moment to slow down the pace, reread the text, and document important compelling points that could invoke a response. When communication with someone, listen to them rather than thinking about what you have to say next. Metaphors give us the opportunity to stay fully engaged with our reading and communications to completely gain the maximum understanding of whatever topic you’re on. These metaphors are a gift that we need to unpack slowly by carefully unwrapping them rather than going straight through the packaging and damaging that gift that will quickly be forgotten unless fixed by re-reading or asking questions when communicating. As soon as we have the capability to recognize these metaphors around us to be able to interpret and reuse them, we’ll then be able to turn the tides to shape our own world around metaphors. We not only have the ability to better understand those around us, but we have the ability to change those surroundings forever simply through the power of the metaphor.

  3. cford8

    It is often said that sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never phase you – this is a false statement, but it is widely viewed as true because of the use of a metaphor. The use of metaphors present themselves in every day living, adds use metaphors, teachers use metaphors, even doctors use metaphors. In order to persuade your audience, you must get them to think in a certain way and metaphors allow this to happen. Metaphors should not be viewed as good or bad, but should be viewed as a tool created to help others think the way you might. It is easy to view metaphors as being bad, because persuasion is very powerful in some cases. It is also easy to use metaphors for good things, like explaining a point to someone, or giving a compliment. Metaphors are an unavoidable part of life, so it is important to understand how powerful these words can be.  

  4. lcheney1

    Metaphors are used so commonly today, people don’t realize they are all around them. We hear metaphors in songs on the radio, during advertisements on television, and through everyday conversations. Metaphors are also used to communicate with children. What consequences could arise if children were not taught with metaphors? Metaphors help children understand concepts better, help children develop creativity, and most importantly help children of different abilities learn in different ways. Three articles are used to describe how metaphors are an important detail of everyday life, although each article has a different view on how metaphors truly form us. Khullar believes that metaphors influence out actions and responses. Although, Geary believes that people use a lot of pattern recognition in their day to day lives. On the other hand, Erard believes that metaphors structure the way we think and talk, can help us solve problems, and trigger emotional responses. The views of these three authors and their opinion on metaphors shows that metaphors have a huge impact on the learning process, especially with children.

    • I believe that metaphors have an impact on our learning, how we are shaped as individuals, and understand how our minds work. Metaphors are important to everyone, especially children. If we start by learning metaphors at a young age, this can create an impact on our learning all the way through elementary school all the way up until high school. Myself personally, did not learn about metaphors into full detail up until my freshmen year of college. Now that I have broadened my knowledge on metaphors from 3 different articles. I know truly feel that metaphors shape the way I think about certain situations, helps me understand pattern recognition and product more creativity in my writing. The articles that I have read are written by Erard, Geary, and Khullar. These articles have made me realize how much sooner I wish I had learned the power of metaphors.

  5. plucyk

    We’re all individuals, right? Everyone has their own individual thoughts, values and perceptions. Wouldn’t you agree? This is very important when discussing metaphors and how they affect the perception of our bodies and affect our overall health. Each metaphor has been designed by someone whether it be a professional metaphor designer or by a college student for an English class. However, each metaphor has an individual purpose. This being said, each metaphor will resonate differently within each person and this affects how they affect us. Three authors, Geary, Erard and Khullar all lay a framework of a metaphor is used to create a sense of understanding. They all agree on the idea that it is used to make something abstract a more tangible thing. The next important aspect to remember is how they are designed. Did a professional produce them? Did they come from the heart? Are they purposely false so you’ll realize them? These are all aspects to consider while analyzing metaphors. These figures of speech are so crucial to our society and it’s increasingly important that we are taught about them so we can better understand them. As Khullar says “Ultimately, any metaphor-military or otherwise- is not inherently good or bad. Rather, the utility of each depends on a patient’s culture, values, experiences, and preferences.” This is the most important aspect when considering how greatly metaphors are able to affect how we perceive our bodies and our health. 

  6. mmcphail1

    Metaphors are used in Elvis Presley’s songs, in advertisement, and a doctor’s office. These three things have nothing in common except for the fact that metaphors play an important role in all of them. It is a way of communication that have the power to change someone’s outlook. James Geary talks about how Elvis uses metaphors to describe his loves and Elvis is known as the king of music. Whereas, Micheal Erard is a metaphor designer, who says that metaphors shape the way people think and talk. Dhruv Khullar who is a physician says that metaphors play a role when it comes to patients. It can create connections between two words that could possibly have noting in common. They are used in language even if we don’t know it’s a metaphor. It is a way of describing how we feel or when we need to explain an idea to someone. Metaphors have the power to give someone the courage to fight through their battle or buy a product or even pursue their love. A metaphor is a tool that is used more often than anyone really knows.

    • mmcphail1

      Language is a tool that is used every day by every person because it is a way of communication. It has the power to brighten or dulls someone day just by the words that are said. Language can affect someone physical and mentally without even realizing it. This is where metaphors come into play because metaphors leave an effect on a person. A metaphor takes two or more words that could possibly have nothing in common and connect them. This could leave a positive or a negative effect on a person’s mental or physical wellbeing. I think that’s the power of a metaphor because it could encourage someone to fight through their battle and get on with their life or totally give up. Metaphors can create a sense of empower in a person because of the message that they relay or create insecurities within a person. Metaphors are an important tool within language that have the power to effect someone’s mental and physical wellbeing.

  7. rpion

    Our life is like a box of chocolates, no? You wake up everyday, not knowing what to expect but hoping, just hoping, that you’re day will go as great as if you were to blindly pick your favorite chocolate. Now take a minute and ponder over how this metaphor may have just influenced your thoughts. Am I really waking up everyday not knowing what to expect, just as a box of chocolates? It’s crazy isn’t it? Metaphors create this image in our heads that give us a new version of an idea/object that doesn’t seem to correlate at all, such as life and a box of chocolates. James Geary, Michael Erard, and Dhruv Khullar have all published their own ideas on how metaphors affect society’s everyday thinking. Geary uses examples such as Elvis Presley to catch his audience when describing how metaphors are created. Erard, metaphor designer, goes deeper into the creation of a metaphor explaining how they are created to force us to see both sides of a reality. On the other hand, Khullar connects metaphors to health studies as he leaves his audience to question whether it is morally okay to compare a chronic illness with war. Ultimately, all three authors come together to discuss the importance of metaphors in our daily lives, affecting us emotionally, and stimulating our thoughts.

    • rpion

      We often miss out on the small details in our lives which often have the greatest impact. The sunsets, the hellos and goodbyes, and most importantly, metaphors. Metaphors, as we commonly know them, are a tool used in English to compare to things. However, the meaning behind a metaphor can become so much deeper. In fact, there are metaphors all around us today that psychologically affect us without us even noticing. James Geary, Michael Erard, and Dhruv Khullar all talk about the effects that metaphors have on society and the deeper meaning that comes from their creation. Geary discusses how our brains translate a metaphor just hearing them. Erard discusses how designers make “pseudo-mistakes” in order to create a metaphor in which society will see both sides of something. Khullar on the other hand discusses the ways in which metaphors such as “this illness is a battle” can affect our health. Overall, the way in which we perceive metaphors may affect our emotions, visions of reality, and health.

  8. Nick

    In the medical field, military metaphors, such as “fighting” a disease or a patient is a “fighter,” are quite commonplace. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The answer isn’t black and white. These metaphors can help people work through their illnesses while it may be a detriment to others. Metaphors are difficult. No one knows what their exact effect will be from individual to individual. But that’s language. We say what we say to exchange our thoughts with others, and metaphors just another part of that. Sometimes our thoughts don’t make it to the other person as we intend, and that gives them different ideas or feelings. Metaphor is a vital part of our language, and the effects of metaphor cannot be known before it is used. This can be quite a problem when it comes to the emotional state of a medical patient. Metaphor is used to help understand their situation. It may have unforeseen effects, but its overall interpretation and effect is up the patient.

    • Nick

      Our current use of metaphors within medicine has historically been related to militaristic terms. Things that relate patients with fighters or disease with a battle.These militaristic metaphors help in the understanding of their situation, but can leave a detrimental effect emotionally. With this in mind, I pose a question: is the continued use of this style of metaphor a good way of informing a patient of their situation? There is not a definite yes or no for this question. The detrimental side-effects may or may not affect a patient. In fact these metaphors can be a boon for some of them. Most people have had someone they love in medical care. How are these metaphors affecting them? How is it helping them understand their situation and affecting their overall mental and emotional state? Metaphors are a vital part of the language and provision of understanding. However the side-effects of these military metaphors in medicine are varied from patient to patient that there should be some alternatives.

  9. vdubois

    Hey, look at your breathing, somethings coming out of your mouth! Yes, i see it now, its a metaphor. Yes you read right, metaphors. If you are wondering why you would be breathing metaphors it is because what I just said was a metaphor itself! What I mean in this is that although we know about metaphors we use it so much without even realizing it. Even I didn’t realize I used this breathing metaphor until after the 2nd sentence. Thats right metaphors are everywhere no matter how much you think about it there is a metaphor that can be applied. Many people from the past like Shakespeare to the musicians of our time use metaphors in ways that influence us to think about the art they create with just words alone. These words were and still are influencing fields ,not just music, but also in scientific discoveries. Metaphors increased our understanding of scientific concepts with, again, only words. Along with science metaphors influenced our way of thinking towards medicinal practices. We will “fight” this “battle” together. Although these are military terms they are also applicable in a hospital setting to help ease the mind of an ill person. Most importantly metaphors are more than able to influence all of our minds and even to the point it can change our culture or society. For something so small and easy to use it can have massive affects both bad and good depending on the users intent. The TED talk conducted by James Gear goes into how these metaphors are used throughout time and society. He provides information on how little amounts of words can change the meaning of anything. Michael Erard, a metaphor designer, writes an article called “See Through Words” and in it he gives us insight on how these are made and how making them can lead to surprisingly pleasant discoveries through pseudo-mistakes. Throughout his article we get an even more in depth view of the world of metaphorical thinking. Last but not least Dhruv Khullar, doctor, writes an article about an experience of when he was treating a patient and thought about how using military terms in a hospital setting is a questionable thing to do. He did not provide us a hint to a conclusion whether it is good or not. However we do get a clue that metaphors can be different depending on the person, making metaphors even more unique than they already are. With these three different people we will dive into the world that explains, the metaphor.

    • vdubois

      Everyone has their own insight on what metaphors are good for but has anybody really thought of what metaphors could be bad for? Perhaps we have been so into using these metaphors for understanding things that we look over what these comparisons could really mean. These metaphors are dangerous weapons that without the right word choice in them, they can be devastating in the way that they can mean something totally different from what it was meant to be. Dhruv Khullar is a doctor that witnesses such metaphors every day. The hospital setting has many sayings but not as many can top off military metaphors with treatment. The use of words like “fighting”, “battle” and many others that is related to war could be putting a patient in a state more similar to pain than encouragement. Michael Erard, a metaphor designer, praises metaphors and their creation can benefit anything for anyone who uses it. However, even he does not deny the fact that metaphors are easy to use and manipulate into something that isn’t positive in every aspect. A candidate for a seat in the government can use metaphors to smear another candidate so it may seem as though the victim of the metaphor is a bad person. A man trying to do a movement can use it to twist a fact and create false propaganda. Ending in a crowd with false information in their minds and a conflict that can’t be held back due to how many believed said metaphor. James Geary, a fellow enthusiast of metaphors did a TED talk on metaphors and made his point clear that metaphors “shakes things up”. Although he is very much correct on how simple words can provoke good ideas and discoveries these simple words can equally provoke BAD ideas and discoveries. We have to be careful with our choice of words. One word may sound good in your metaphor however it may MEAN something that isn’t intended. These unintended words when exposed to other people they may take it as something else that isn’t what you want them to think. What I believe is that the simple to use and easily done metaphor has its good ups but it has its equally bad downs. We have to be more careful than you would think when using these.

  10. Alexis

    All around the universe, certain personas visualize, perceive and opinonize words, sentences, topics and about anything else. Metaphors are one of those things that the public possesses their own perceptions. My personal first thought on metaphors was…why? What is the point? Are they necessary? Could they lead us to a deeper thinking? After being open to learn more about metaphors and the meaning behind them, I find myself appalled by the usefulness of metaphors. By the connections they make with reality and people themselves, they represent a greater picture of life itself. Not everyone will feel as though they should have metaphors on a daily basis but I will show you what the need and want for them is. One proposition that continually wraps my mind is where did metaphors come from and where do they currently come from? As we take a deeper glance at “The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors” by Dhruv Khullar, “Metaphorically Speaking” by James Geary and “See through Words” by Michael Erard all these questions will be answered in one way or another. The effectiveness will be shown through ways of understanding metaphors such as pattern recognition, synesthesia, and cognitive dissonance. Likewise we will be given real-life examples highlighted by Kullar and Erard.

  11. rhurlburt1

    Metaphors are used so often that we forget that we use them. Whether they are used in conversation, songs, writing or advertisements, we see them everywhere. Metaphors make things easier to understand and compare two things that may not be compared otherwise. It has become common today to dismiss metaphors, because they are used so often. Metaphors are actually very interesting and hold much more detail than we think. Metaphors make people think in a certain way and can hide people’s likes and dislikes. Metaphors create an image in our mind that helps us perceive different objects or words. In most cases, the words used to create a metaphor have no correlation, but somehow in our brain we connect all the words to make an interesting image. Metaphors are essential to learning, communicating and discovering. Metaphors have been built into our language, and now they are essential. If someone doesn’t understand metaphors it may be hard for them to learn or communicate with others. We think and speak with metaphors, everyday. Geary, Khullar and Erard all wrote about metaphors and the effect they have on us. Each piece of writing was very different but all of them had one thing in common, they create a common language and change how people think.

  12. Kamryn Compton

    Military metaphors are pervasive in medicine. It is not uncommon that one might hear physicians refer to pathogens as enemies to be defeated, destroyed, or even killed. Metaphors being used to express scientific ideas and treatments is emerging in the health care field. The use of military metaphors in medicine is due to a long history of conflict and have become woven into a part of today’s health care. Dhruv Khullar states that “using military terms like ‘battle’ and ‘fighter’ to help patients conceptualize their illness can sometimes harm more than it helps.” Khullar gives a number of claims that will be examined later on, on how using such powerful terms can have a significant impact on the patient. However, by looking at the works of James Geary and Michael Erard, on the ways in which metaphors are useful and how they should be interpreted, I view this type of figurative language to be beneficial and bring a sense of hope to the patient.

    • Kamryn Compton

      All of our lives we are told to think before we speak, we are told to ask ourselves if what we are going to say is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind, we are asked to think. Although this was something taught to us from a young age, I feel that still we are not aware of the impact that our words can have on others. According to James Geary, we utter about 6 metaphors a minute, if this is true, then I find it hard to believe that each and every one of us goes through the “think” process and ask ourselves all of those questions, I know I don’t. However, in todays world of medicine, we have to ask ourselves the impact that our words and the metaphors we use have on our patients and their physical and mental health. We may that what we thought was a helpful comparison or explanation through metaphor can actually be harming the mental and physical health of our patients.
      According to James Geary…

  13. ikennedy1

    Life is a rollercoaster. There’s no doubt that you have heard this metaphor at some point in your life, but how you perceive that phrase is a different question. Metaphors exist all around us, so much so, that sometimes we don’t recognize the line between a metaphor and it’s literal meaning. They serve to help us familiarize ourselves with what we don’t understand. They can be powerful in the sense that they change how the listener perceives what the metaphor speaks about. In hospitals, we often hear “you’re a fighter”, or “this is a battle you’ll win”. But how does that affect the patient? Medical professionals have begun to think that this military-based language is doing more harm than good on the patient’s wellbeing, whether it’s physical or mental. This language serves as a barrier, preventing the patient from dealing with their true emotions about their condition, as discussed in Dhruv Khullar’s “The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors”. This is just one example of how powerful language really is. James Geary and Michael Erard also dive into the complications of metaphors and how they control or change the way we see things. There are various processes to creating metaphors and how to use them to create expectations. With that in mind, can they be good or bad, and how much power do they actually hold? All three of the authors mentioned afore discuss how language and metaphors, a type of language, can hold more power than one may think.

  14. gjohnson8

    Imagine a world void of creativity. A world where language is pushed aside and disregarded. A world where a sound argument is bogged down by ignorance.  Would you want to live in a world like this? Language is one the most powerful weapons that anyone can use in any battle. And metaphors like the one in the previous sentence have the power to sway thinking of not only people, but whole societies way of interpreting something. That being said, different societies have different ways of interpreting metaphor. Children are brought up to look at metaphor in the same way as their ancestors. People have, and always will, interpret metaphor in the way that they think is best. Which brings up the most interesting part of metaphor, How are metaphors created? There are metaphor designers out there who will say that metaphors spring up from long thought and hours of associative work. Making lists and drawing new conclusions with the advancements of technology. But there are others out there who classify metaphor as wild. Something that is hardwired into human perception. That metaphor is just simply there. Most people take metaphor and apply it to their own lives. For example, Life is a Garden. Different people will interpret that metaphor as good or bad. A garden is something that needs to be cultivated with hard work, and requires the patience of a saint. This metaphor also states that life has its ups and downs. Sometime if you work hard at something it will not grow into something because you are not in the right environment, thus explains the duality of metaphor. From the beginning of metaphor, there is always one person or group who control how a majority of a population view a certain metaphor. But the only person that can control what people think is themselves. Wellbeing is something that can only be diagnosed by whom ever it pertains to. When people think about illness, they try to make anyone experiencing it feel better. Using metaphors to try and help people forget their woes or to be more confident in their treatment as a whole. Metaphor and language can be powerful to a group of impressional people, but once they start to think critically about it and gather evidence, metaphor is at the mercy of the interpreter.

  15. Bryn Heyland

    Have you ever heard the expression “happy as a clam” or “the light of my life”? I am sure you have because these are two commonly used metaphors. Metaphors allow us to compare something unfamiliar or complex, to something we are familiar with. We create these similarities in our mind to understand concepts better. Metaphors are used by doctors, seen on television, heard in everyday conversations and so many more places. However, metaphors are used so commonly that we have become blind to them. They are interwoven into our everyday language and without them, we would have a more difficult time comprehending and communicating. James Geary, Michael Erard and Dhruv Khullar have each published pieces that explore metaphors in different ways. Geary provides us the idea that by just changing one word in a metaphor, it can make it quite dangerous. Erard surprises us with the mention of a “metaphor designer” and the work that goes into creating them. Meanwhile, Khullar takes us into a medical environment and shares the concerns with using metaphors within them. However, all three pieces overlap in the idea that metaphors hold a substantial amount of power and can be interpreted differently depending on the person.

  16. eramsey

    James Geary exclaims to his audience “We utter about six metaphors a minute.” and although we may not use six metaphors per minute exactly we do use metaphors constantly even when we don’t realize it. Metaphors are used in songs, to describe different topics, and in the medical field. Michael Erard states that metaphors structure the way we think and talk. Metaphors are so commonly used we often don’t think of the impact particular metaphors have on us and others. Some of the most common metaphors are used in the medical field, many patients are often told their illness is a battle as Khullar explains in his article. He goes on to explain that patients may not like having their illness being referred to as a battle or a conflict as it has a negative connotation. This tends to have an overall effect on a person’s well-being.

  17. cmoody2

    When most people think of metaphor, they interpret metaphor as a way to understand a concept. According to James Geary, metaphors are a way of understanding the world around us. While this might seem strange, Geary says “metaphorical thinking is essential to how we understand ourselves and others, how we communicate, learn, discover and invent” (1). One place this is particularly important is in the medical field.

    In recent discussion of how we experience our health, a controversial issue has been whether metaphor should be used to help doctors communicate with patients. On the one hand, some doctors argue that metaphor is a mode of communication to patients. From this perspective, communication between patients has become more clear and the patients have understood the disease. On the other hand, however, others argue that metaphor harms the patients more than it helps them feel better. In the words of Khullar, one of this view’s main proponents, “using military terms like battle or fighter to help patients conceptualize their illness can sometimes harm more than it helps” (1). According to this view, metaphor should not be used in the medical field, as it pressures the patient to win the war against the illness. In sum, then, the issue is whether metaphor should be used in medicine or not.

    My own view is that doctors should use metaphors to communicate with patients and families because metaphors help patients and families understand what they are going through, but doctors should be more selective and use ones that are helpful, without causing harm to the patient.

  18. kharding3

    Metaphors are used for all types of aspects of life. Most just for fun, and other times there are reasons as to why they are said or created such as slogans for companies plus more. Metaphors are used in medicine and used to help with people health; but also, the responsibility for managing this type of language. Within the articles “See through words” written by Michael Erad, the article, “Metaphorically Speaking” written by James Geary, and the last article, “The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors” which was written by Dhruv Khullar. What each article does is it describes their version of what they think a metaphor is and what they believe should go into making one as well. The article “The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors” talks about what metaphors do in the medical aspect. The article “Metaphorically Speaking” talks about how the best way to create a metaphor and has examples as to what a good metaphor should be like. The article “See through words” Michael Erad goes on to explain how there are two different ways to create a metaphor and compares the two.

  19. erando

    When I was six years old, the power went out at my house. Pouring rain drummed against the windows and lightening bolted across the sky. My uncle glanced at me, crossed the dim room, and took a seat beside me on the living room floor.

    “Did you know thunder is the sound of angels bowling?” he whispered. I hesitantly lowered my hands from my ears and listened. It sounded just like a bowling ball gliding along a glossy wooden floor. He was right.

    I didn’t cover my ears again that night, or the next time it thundered, or the next. It is intriguing that the way my uncle arranged his words allowed my fear to be diminished. In fact, it can be useful. Dhruv Khullar, both a physician and an assistant professor at Cornell University, notes that metaphor can “offer patients an avenue to express their emotions and exert agency over their conditions”. Not only is metaphor beneficial in overcoming childhood fear and within intensive care units, it can be used to help any individual better understand a concept. Generally speaking,a metaphor’s role in how we perceive our bodies and pursue health is inherently positive.

  20. upatel

    Many people assume that the main purpose of metaphors is to be used in a literary or academic setting to compare different thoughts and ideas. In reality, metaphors are used throughout our lives and are spewing from our mouths all the time without us even noticing. Whether it is describing a story to a friend, singing a song or telling a doctor our feelings, metaphors can help convey stronger feelings than the literal meaning of words themselves. Metaphors help us generate comparisons between two unrelated ideas and help us create imagery to learn a hard topic by associating it with ideas that we already know. They could even help us get through hard times as mentioned in Dhruv Khullar’s article, “Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors” and can impact the way we think and perceive the world overall as James Geary and Michael Erard stated. It is common to dismiss how metaphors really impact our lives since they are deeply ingrained into the way we think since our childhood.

  21. jgore

    Language is a multifaceted, complex tool that has been utilized for years, containing the key to effectively communicate to one another. Language is also culturally universal, meaning language is being used all around the world, and although there may be variants, its nonetheless a crucial part of daily living for all. One aspect of language that is used a great deal is metaphors. Metaphors seem like it would be a small fraction of the human language but is indeed one of the most common methods used to communicate. As Erard stated, people will use around 6 metaphors a minute. They are used to aid commercials and advertisements, used as an efficient way to describe things to one another during conversations, they are used in great works of writing such as Shakespeare’s plays, and they are even seen throughout various subjects such as math and science. With metaphors, there are no limits, but rather an infinite amount of ways people use or see them. In James Geary’s TED talk, “Metaphorically Speaking”, he talks about the importance of metaphors and how people make of and understand them. In Micheal Erard’s “See Through Words”, he brings in his personal experience as a metaphor designer and describes the importance of making metaphors, wording them, making sure they are understood correctly by the audience, etc. Lastly in Dhruv Khullar’s “The Trouble with Metaphors”, he talks about how military metaphors are commonly used in medicine/healthcare, and how that may affect the patient. In all three texts, the authors bring relevant, important contributions to the table regarding metaphors and how they affect our interpretations and emotions.

    • jgore

      Language is a multifaceted, complex tool that has been utilized for years, containing the key to effectively communicate to one another. Language is also culturally universal, meaning language is being used all around the world, and although there may be variants, its nonetheless a crucial part of daily living for all. One aspect of language that is used a great deal is metaphors. Metaphors seem like it would be a small fraction of the human language but is indeed one of the most common methods used to communicate. As Erard stated, people will use around 6 metaphors a minute. They are used to aid commercials and advertisements, used as an efficient way to describe things to one another during conversations, they are used in great works of writing such as Shakespeare’s plays, and they are even seen throughout various subjects such as math and science. With metaphors, there are no limits, but rather an infinite amount of ways people use or see them. One important way that metaphors are being used is in the healthcare setting. Although it may not seem like it, metaphors are a common way to communicate to one another whether it is to a colleague or to a patient. When it comes to illness and making sure the patient is being treated physically and emotionally, communication is necessary to make sure that they are feeling comfortable. Metaphors in general are a great tool used to help display ones message across, so it is important to address the kinds of metaphors being used in the medical field, and help healthcare professionals understand the language used to address colleagues and patients.

  22. bpastore

    Metaphor is all around us and is used everywhere there is language. It can be found in music, casual conversation, and even in the doctor’s office. To understand why we use metaphors, we first need to understand what a metaphor is. James Geary describes this the best, citing that Aristotle’s classic definition of a metaphor is the process of giving something a name that belongs to something else. Now that we know what a metaphor is, why would we want to use it? To some, a metaphor may seem like a way to beat around the bush, but this is exactly why metaphors are useful in our lives. It is very likely that you read in the last sentence, “beat around the bush” without having to hesitate and rethink what you read. This is because of how common metaphors are in our communication. Metaphors are creative ways of interpreting the world around us. They allow us to obtain a deeper understanding of things that we don’t know much about, by relating new ideas to things we already know about. Metaphors are especially useful in the ways we perceive our bodies, experience illnesses, and pursue our better health.

  23. rmanson

    Metaphors are all around us in the world, yet we do not even think about how influential they are on our lives. They greatly impact the way we think, and metaphor helps us understand things that we would have trouble with if metaphor was not used. However, most of the time we do not realize that these metaphors are floating around us in television commercials, billboards, songs, literature, and just in general conversations that occur every day. Metaphors can be created in all sorts of ways and while one’s definition of the term might be slightly different from another, most usually have a similar starting point or have general overlapping similarities. Some people look deeper into the meaning of metaphor, its origins, and how it can affect people in real life. The deeper meaning of a metaphor could positively or negatively affect how the person on the receiving end of the metaphor reacts. For example, James Geary, Michael Erard, and Dhruv Khullar are just a few of the masses of people who delve into the enigma of metaphor to attempt to elaborate and discover exactly how and why metaphor affects us. Geary, in his TED talk titled “Metaphorically Speaking”, explains that even though metaphors seem simple and follow a very simple formula, they can have a very complex meaning once the layers are peeled away to reveal the true purpose of the metaphor. Erard, a metaphor designer, emphasizes in his essay, “See Through Words”, that metaphors almost always will have multiple meanings that can be interpreted differently depending on the metaphor itself and that metaphors can be used to help understand concepts that might not be very easy to conceptualize. Dhruv Khullar, a doctor who wrote the essay “The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors”, believes that metaphors are a very fundamental idea that help people visualize things in the world. He also believes that metaphors can have both negative and positive connotations, just that the way they are used can affect the overall outcome of any situation. Although these three gentlemen have slightly different descriptions and thoughts, they share the common belief that metaphors can have a very powerful effect on how people think, act, how they understand things that happen around them, and how metaphors can have a deeper meaning that will take some thinking to uncover in most cases.

  24. slyytikainen

    When comparing love to the sun, it has a positive meaning. What about comparing love to cancer? Does it have the same meaning as the sun? Words can make a powerful impact on us, especially in metaphorical terms. We subconsciously use metaphors in our everyday lives. They play a large enough roll in our lives that there is no true escape. However, metaphors may be doing more harm than intended to. I overall believe that metaphors have a negative impact on the way we present ourselves. Through James Geary’s TED Talk, “Metaphorically Speaking,” he explains how metaphors are a factor of how we fail to recognize false sentences. Furthermore, I believe that metaphoric language has a negative look on how we perceive our bodies and personalities. In the article, “See Through Words,” Michael Erard displays a negative look on metaphors because they can conflict with emotional responses. Finally, metaphors can have a negative impact on how we experience sickness and pursue health. Dhruv Khullar presents a view on military metaphors and hospital patients through his own personal experiences and how they can do more harm based on how the metaphor is presented. Metaphors will never leave the human vocabulary, but because of the harm that they can lead to, people should be made aware of their consequences.

  25. lbogdanovich

    Metaphors are used very commonly in today’s world, but most people do not notice them. They are in everyday conversations, on tv commercials, used when speaking about stocks, and on the radio. It is a way to communicate with all ages, but they also have the power to change the way someone looks at it. Geary talks about how Elvis is the kind of music. He uses metaphors to describe his loves in his songs. On the other hand, Michael Erard is a metaphor designer that metaphors can shape the way that we think and talk. Khullar believes that they use military metaphors in medicine. Geary, Erard and Khullar all have their own views on metaphors and the affect they have on us. Each writer had a unique piece, but one thing each piece had was how metaphors create another language and how they change the way people think.

    • lbogdanovich

      Metaphors are a way to perceive the body, experience sickness and pursue health, which Erard, Geary, and Khullar each have their own place within their beliefs of them. Metaphors are commonly used, but did you know “We utter about six metaphors a minute” (Geary,1). Geary uses an example of Elvis writing love songs about his girlfriends using metaphors. Khullar believes that metaphors were used around the word’s “battle” and “fight” from the military to describe medicine. Lastly, Erard is a metaphor designer which he believes that believes metaphors can shape the way we perceive them. Erard, Geary, and Khullar all have a different way of how we perceive our bodies, but they also have ties that connect with one another related experiencing sickness, and perusing heath.

  26. csaucier4

    Metaphors are powerful tools of teaching and understanding that have helped people gain and spread knowledge since the dawn of recorded history, they help us understand by making connections between things but there is a significant danger when people fail to understand the exact nature of these connections. Many reputable linguists have given their two cents on the topic and have generally come to the agreement that the language used in metaphors can have major implications in the perceived meaning of a metaphor including Michael Erard who used the example of the metaphor “upstairs (logical) and downstairs (emotional) brain” inadvertently suggesting that the downstairs brain is “bad” in his publication See through words. It is important to see metaphors as they are to avoid finding false meaning in a metaphor, the previous example may not have seemed that scary but in reality that one metaphor attempting to explain how the brain works may have caused some amount of bias in the people who internalize it against the emotional part of themselves. To avoid getting the false meaning from metaphors one must first know what metaphors essentially are and why they work. Humans think in “straight lines”, this of course is a metaphor and also helps explain why metaphors work. what this metaphor essentially says is that human minds are designed so that they can only solve one problem or make one connection between ideas in their mind at once. Think for example how you would solve a the math equation like 34+12(11)-13, I bet that you didn’t just throw all those numbers in your head and do all the adding subtracting and multiplying at once you probably did the multiplication, than added 34 than subtracted 12 which is essentially what you do all the time piecing information together. All of what i just said can be summarized in the previously stated metaphor, humans think in straight lines, but what if I told you without the right context that metaphor may be dangerous. I have a question that can be asked in the context of the metaphor or the longer explanation “can people ever grasp a concept that is “curvy”, “nonlinear” or not “straightforward”. In the context of the metaphor the easy answer would be “no people think in straight lines so how can they grasp something with a “curve”” the diction relating to straight lines suggests that you can’t make curved lines out of straight lines because you literally can’t do that with literal straight lines but in reality we use simple connections to solve complex problems every day. This is why it is important to learn how to protect your self from being unintentionally misinformed by metaphors.

  27. kgenest1

    Whether you are a male or a female, an introvert or an extrovert, a republican or democrat, each and every person has their own individualized experience that has let them to where they are in the world today and the view they have. The social and educational background of each human being on earth is completely unique. Beliefs, morals, and the way we chose to conduct ourselves in situations all stem from our completely personal life experiences. Background creates perception and a different view on the world from person to person. A professional in the healthcare field may perceive a statement in one way whereas a patient with cancer being treated by the previously mentioned professional can perceive the exact same statement in a complete opposite way. Since the doctor has not been through chemo or had the burden of struggling with cancer, she is unaware of exactly what is going through the mind of a cancer patient. Saying things like “you are a fighter” or “cancer is war” can spark a very negative response from the patient even though they metaphors created by the doctor create a somewhat accurate representation of what cancer is like.

    • kgenest1

      Word choice is said to be a very deliberate process. The words we use in everyday conversations may not seem to be as though out or intentional as written text, but it still holds the same, if not more, power to influence. Words on a page are carefully thought out and can easily be altered to please the public but it is much harder to take back words after they have been released to a large audience. In the hospital full of people with diverse background, knowledge, and personalities, it is important to be aware of the word choice being used in each unique situation. While one patient may respond well to cancer being viewed as a battle, it may sicken another patient even more deeply than the cancer they are faced with. As a doctor, nurse, or even janitor in a hospital surrounded by this abundance of diversity, it can seem overwhelming to speak without offending someone each and every time you open your mouth to generate a conversation. Being aware of your patients cultural and social background can enhance your relationships with patients and help you better understand that words have a strong influence on how people perceive what you say.

  28. ncabral

    Think about the last time you have used a metaphor. It is actually quite surprising how much a person uses metaphor in their daily life, and they don’t even notice. If you kept track of how many you used in a day it would be a larger number than you would expect. Metaphors are used to explain a plethora of information without boring the reader. One of the biggest strengths of metaphor is that you could explain something that your audience has no clue about in an effective matter, you can use metaphor to explain virtually anything. They help us connect to the reader on a deeper level and allow stronger connections to form. The english language would be a drag without them. The question being asked is how do metaphors affect your mental and physical wellness. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can hurt you, heal you, and change your perspective on things you may once have had a different opinion on.

  29. mmammone

    The creative quality of using metaphors can be dated back thousands of years. A unique process that involves  critiquing ones writing to the uttermost in order to achieve an effective mode of communication. This way of thinking subconsciously is translated into the universe of medical science and the well-being of oneself. A controversial issue revolves around the use of this form of figurative language in how we perceive our destiny. Metaphors, dominantly, can be used within the processes of perceiving our bodies, pursuing health, and helping people cope with illness. The beautiful world around us is accompanied with a diverse language, that with proper care, can demonstrate the capabilities of strengthening and preserving the mental and physical aspects of people. 

  30. mstephens2

    Metaphors are hidden in everything we experience, hundreds of them scattered throughout the day, but can you name any of them? If, you can I want you to try and say at least five metaphors that you may have seen, heard, or know. I bet the ones that you listed if any were from companies, getting through life, or music. Yes, there are many metaphors that deal with life and companies alone but, metaphors may be very useful when it comes to our bodies, health, and minds. As humans, we compare everything to anything, our bodies to machines, our health to wars, and our minds to computers, and yet we are likely not to realize how useful metaphors are. Metaphors can paint a picture of understanding that enables us as humans to understand the information that we are absorbing. You may ask, “Isn’t it easier just to describe or explain what you are talking about without using metaphors?” That answer lies with what you are talking about, what is being described, and the situation at hand. Most times though, it is easier using phrases or comparisons to connect the dots. Other times metaphors are used because someone is trying to beat around the bush or they can’t put their ideas into the right words without it sounding like gibberish. Erard, Gaery, and Khullar are three people who have figured out some meanings of the word, “metaphor”. Although; they all have different views of metaphors, they can agree that metaphors enable differentiating languages and walls to come down allowing two people to be on the same level. Metaphors give us that extra hand to get to the top of the wall meeting the other person.

    • mstephens2

      They say metaphors create a picture that was not there before. Metaphors most likely represent an understanding between two people to be on the same level when talking about the way we see our bodies, get through sickness, and stay healthy. Metaphors get us farther than where we started. There are so many people with different levels of education and knowledge that there needs to be a ground that everyone can get on to understand each other. Erard, Gaery, and Khullar are three people who have dug deep to find what metaphors are and what they do for us as a species. Although, they all have different views on metaphors they all can agree that metaphors allow people to be on ground zero together.

  31. Kirsten Sullivan

    Even in our most advancing society, language continues to persists as it is an essential part of our daily lives. It exists all across the world and, though the language differs, the need for communication remains the same. On average, 3000 words are exchanged each day and of those words, as James Geary said, every six minutes a metaphor is spoken. Metaphors are another crucial part of conversing. They allow us to grasp a better understanding of the things that happen around us, as well as explain to others. They help us to paint imagery and draw connections. And, though people may disagree with their interpretations, they help build perspective within ourselves. Metaphors hold power, and it’s up to the user on how to direct it.

  32. bkennedy4

    Knowledge carries great weight in society. It can be used for good or bad in the sense that a person can use their knowledge to lead the nation, or to become a criminal mastermind. It has a never ending potential as there becomes more of it. Metaphor is knowledge. The english language is comprised of metaphors so much so that it goes completely unnoticed in many situations. Literal language and metaphor are interwoven so tightly that they can be confused with each other. Once someone is able to use metaphor to their advantage, they instantly become more intelligent, better at communicating, even charming. This is the power that metaphor holds. It can be used to compare a known subject with an unknown subject to make something more understandable. Metaphor helps people think in an innovative way and conceptualize new things. It can do incredibly beneficial things, but it has some downsides. A person can be hurt by metaphors if they understand them in a different way than someone intended. Much like knowledge, metaphor has great strength and can do great damage.

  33. okelley

    Communication amongst other individuals can impede as a difficult task; with meaning being lost in the transaction of words. A universal concept that aids in this dilemma is the use of metaphors. Metaphors, by definition, are phrases involving unorthodox methods of comparisons. In other words, it is the application of comparability between words and phrases. Physician Dhruv khullar however, suggests “they do more than explain similarities—they can invent them where they don’t exist, and blur the lines between the literal and the figurative” (khullar). Metaphors are widely understood to construed a universally accepted meaning (such examples include “a blanket of snow” or “the smell of fear”). Metaphors are considered “essential to how we understand ourselves and others” (Geary). According to James Geary, we use metaphors in daily encounters, with ourselves and others through all aspects of conversation and engagement with life “utter[ing] about six metaphors a minute” (Geary). Metaphors are concepts that are designed “for helping people conceive of solutions to problems” (Erard). With this in mind, it is reasonable to consider that metaphors impact our daily life and health immensely based on their connotation with the individual. The impact of a metaphor on individuals depend on the individuals themselves; the interpretation affects health through the words selected in the make of a metaphor. Identified by Polish physician Zbigniew Lipowski, “a framework for characterizing the meaning that patients ascribe to their illness” can effect mental wealth and well-being based on the “utility of each, depend[ing] on the [individuals] culture, values, experiences and preferences” (khullar). Through the works of Geary, Erard and Khullar, metaphors have been explained, applied and understood as to be essential in the everyday lives of individuals.

    • okelley

      Metaphors play a role in the daily lives of every individual in society, whether it be through communication, or some sort of cultural influence, the use of metaphors will shape the thoughts and ideas of many. These metaphors can influence in both direct and indirect manners depending on the connection it makes to the viewers audience. These influences could be shown in our daily tasks such as the overall concept of sickness. Metaphors are used quite often with illness to give the person a hope, and motivation to overcome the illness if possible. Some metaphors however, could be taken in a different demeanor, whether the point the creator of the metaphor was trying to provide was misinterpreted or looked at as a more negative vibe than motivation.Although the use of metaphors can negatively affect society based on the understanding and usage of metaphor, there is evidence that shows metaphors play an influential role in our thoughts, perceptions, and even our daily tasks that we as society encounter, in which these metaphors guide us through depending on their meaning.

  34. jvuong1

    Listen and read carefully. What do you notice? Is it the conversation of others, or words on a page? Whatever the case may be, it is language. Overlooked by many as it has become a social staple and essential to use, language has been taken for granted because it is simply just an element of life. What language really boils down to is the purpose of it. The main goal of using language is to communicate with one another, whether it is words on a page or a conversation. Although there are many components to “language” itself, the one aspect that is commonly neglected are metaphors. Many people assume that metaphors are things you would learn about in a typical English class. You would have to distinguish between simile or metaphors and know numerous other figures of speech. Well, those people aren’t wrong. However, metaphors have a much more profound role than that. We all integrate metaphors in our daily lives without even knowing it. Whether it’s to describe something beautiful, or to clarify a concept without the need to go too much into detail, metaphors evolve the language we used day by day. Not only that, they influence the way people perceive an approach. In their respective works, Michael Erard explains the process of creating these comparisons and how influential they can be while also talking about the strategies used by metaphor designers. James Geary dives into the minds of people in order to talk about the synesthesia and “cognitive dissonance” when it comes to comprehending metaphors, and finally, Dhruv Khullar blends the idea of slang and inspiration derived from military metaphors in the world of medicine. They each introduce their own perspective on metaphors and how the simple figure of speech is much more complex than a typical English class makes it out to be.

  35. pfowler1

    Metaphors have been around for eras. We particularly use them in the health field when talking about illness and treating diseases. Dhruv Khullar’s “Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors” talks about the link between military metaphor and the health field. Typically we associate someone’s journey with an illness as a fight and deem them a fighter. Is labeling those who are diagnosed with an illness as a fighter going to far? The words and sayings we link with a concept or thing affect how we think about that thing from there on out. Khullar believes in the way we perceive it. These views from Khullar about metaphors are from a doctor’s point of view. The views from two writers, James Geary and Michael Erard, deal with a different aspect of the way we handle metaphors but their findings also support Khullar’s troubles with medicine’s metaphors.

  36. jduffy1

    Metaphor has been talked about in many different ways by many different people. Its uses, both major and minor can have profound impacts on the way we view and understand the world around us. Two authors Michael Erard and James Geary have two competing theories about metaphors come to be but they agree on one thing; metaphor is powerful and is used on a daily basis by virtually everyone in order to communicate ideas. In the field of medicine however, scrutiny has been placed on the doctor’s uses of warlike metaphor, such as a patient “fighting for their life” or “battling through disease”. Why is this? Well physician and author David Khullar posits that we should maybe rethink this long accepted use of language. He points out that because metaphors can have such a strong effect on the way people see thing, this rhetoric can be harmful to a patients well being. I disagree with this claim as I believe in the realm of medicine these metaphors help patients understand their ailment and and realise what is at stake.

    • jduffy1

      Is life really a “box of chocolates”? Are we really ever going to “cross that bridge when we get to it”? The answer to both these questions is no. In the literal sense life is not a tangible box of chocolates nor is there any physical bridge to cross. These metaphors however are not meant to be factually correct, rather they help us to better understand the world around us and that is what makes them so powerful. As a patient of any specialist or physician we seek to understand our ailment and what is at stake. Am I going to die soon? Should I be gripping to life with all my might? These questions are the ones that patients need answered in the most simplistic way. Doctors have a profound knowledge of their field but what should they do when faced with explaining a complicated illness in lay terms? The answer is of course metaphor. Metaphor is vital in our understanding of everyday life and become even more important when used in the health fields.

  37. Alexis

    All around the universe, certain personas visualize, perceive and opinonize words, sentences, topics and about anything else. A connotation is different for everyone because it has a separate meaning per every individual. The use of negatively connotated words have a pessimistic approach to understanding and utilizing metaphors within a population. Metaphors are one of those things that the public possesses their own perceptions. Perceptions that could lead to a misuse of information or in the other case, deeper apprehension of that such thing. Considering these factors could make realization of a metaphor harder to grasp or easier to find the flaws of it all.

  38. dbryant2

    Metaphors are surrounding us everyday, and most of us have become desensitized to their presence. Writers are trying to resurface awareness of metaphors in life, some of these include Michael Erard, James Geary, and Dhruv Khullar. The way we choose to manipulate our language can, and does, heavily impact the physical and emotional aspects of daily life. It is important to acknowledge metaphors and recognize the impact that they can have on people in ways that extend beyond a writing technique. We overlook the consequences caused by word choice generalized to being okay with the whole population – we forget that everyone is unique and has their own way of comprehending things or coping with ailments. Metaphors have the power to change people’s perspectives, which is the key that opens doors to shaping our views of our bodies and general health.

    • dbryant2

      We may overlook the constant bombardment of metaphors in our daily lives, but that does not mean that they are not there. Metaphors are always present, whether we notice them or not. They have the power to change people’s perspectives, and emphasize the effectiveness of word choice – it makes a bigger difference than we may think. The rephrasing of a complex idea through a metaphor can help to break the “barrier” there is between medical terminology and the rest of the world. We call people who have cancer “fighters” without a second thought. I know that I had never realized this was a metaphor until very recently, it was just something that everyone said and it made sense. We use these phrases as a way to uplift and cope with difficulties that we cannot readily change. They unify age groups and aid in understanding of concepts that are hard to swallow.

  39. wcurtin

    Blog 4:
    Metaphors,  a literary tool used to describe and compare two unlike objects. Imagine however, being able to use this literary tool to cause a positive change reaction and benefit the persons life who you used a metaphor on. Metaphor, when used correctly,  have the capability to provide a positive interaction with someone who is not currently in the best position. There are approximately 1,735,350 new cases of cancer to be diagnosed at some point this year, approximately 609,640 of those will be fatal. With this rampant illness tearing through our country, a cushion of support needs to be extended to those who need it. Metaphors are that cushion. Patients whose doctors use metaphors on a regular basis have higher tendencies to like the doctors and believe their doctor to be better equipped and understanding of treating their illness.  While not a physical cushion that can better their current position, metaphors leave the patients at more ease and having a better outlook on their treatment. Having a the best outlook possible is important for getting through treatment for cancer. Without a good outlook, how can you expect good results. Metaphors are a useful tool in aiding the treatment of cancer and can lead patients to be more understanding and have a better outlook.

  40. Audrey Bourque

    Typically, people don’t really think much about metaphors however they are used so much in our daily lives. Not only do we use them in the academic setting, but in everyday conversations too. Metaphors are so helpful in so many ways, they help in the understanding of more complex thoughts, or they can even create a new outlook that wasn’t seen before. Also, metaphors are extremely important in the medical field. It can allow medical professionals to be better communicators with their patients, but also create a better understanding of a patient’s condition than just medical terminology would. However, some find it controversial to use warfare metaphors in the medical field because it could be seen in a motivating light, or a negative light. Metaphors are used everywhere, they are just constantly overlooked.

  41. lsimon2

    Metaphors shape the way we see the world around us. Using comparisons is common in everyday language and even used in the way we see ourselves and our health. Sickness is a battle, time is money, happy as a fiddle, these are just some few common metaphors that are said. They empower us to understand how someone is feeling or what things are like. It bridges our gap in understanding the world around us. But when you compare two things are expectations are made, if sickness is a battle then the expectations of a victor or loser is made. This can lead to unhealthy thoughts, and could cause patients to have unrealistic thoughts about how their body is operating.

  42. oharnum

    Using language and engaging in conversation is a part of our everyday lives. We engage in conversations when talking on the phone, when we shop at stores every time we go out in public. But what happens when there is a misunderstanding between two people when communicating? The answer is simple. We use metaphors, as a way to break this barrier.  As Erard, Geary and Khullar outline in their arguments, metaphors are in our everyday language whether we realize it or not. We use metaphors on a daily basis as a way to describe to others exactly how we are feeling by comparing our emotions or a situation that we are in to something that is compatible with it. They establish a basic line of communication that allows for a better understanding of a concept between people. Despite metaphors being deeply immersed into our everyday language, these words were engineered and implanted not by everyday citizens but by metaphor designers. Should we trust these metaphors as they can dim reality from fantasy in a situation? They can alter people’s perception of reality and take metaphors too literally. Should there be a line to metaphors, as to not offend anyone when speaking, or should the general public be allowed to continue using these metaphors that have been around for decades?

    • oharnum

      Metaphors are surround us from the minute we are able to understand language. I remember when I little and use to be afraid of thunder, I was terrified of the way it would shake our house and the deafening noise it made. One day there was a bad storm outside and I ran around the house trying to find a place to hide with my hands over my ears. My mother saw this and comforted me with a metaphor most likely not even realizing it. “Don’t be afraid, that is just the sound of angels bowling.” At the time, I was unaware of what a metaphor was, but this statement provided me with a sense of ease and I stopped hiding from the noise and just pictured the angels above having a friendly game of bowling. Metaphors are powerful and useful tools that can help people understand a concept they might be unfamiliar with. For me, it helped me get over my fear of thunder. For others, it can close a gap of confusion and allow for conversation to continue freely and smoothly. Metaphors are around us at all times and have been engineered into our language from an early age by experts to the point where we have to use them to get others to understand how we are feeling and get them onto our level.
      [Trying to answer question about how metaphors positively impact our health and that they are necessary and useful ]

  43. Tatyana Markovich

    When it comes to the topic of metaphors, most of us will readily agree that they are everywhere and have become a way of communication to humans. Where this agreement usually ends, however, on the question of how and when it is appropriate to use them. Whereas some are convinced that they should be specifically used for poetry and books, others maintain that metaphors should be used freely to anyone who chooses to use them. The standard way of thinking about metaphors has it that they are basic comparisons using the creative part of the brain to create a similarity between two things. We are introduced to the idea of metaphors through fables as young children. Through schooling, we are taught to create proper comparisons between similar things or to decipher the meaning of metaphors. Throughout high school English and even as early as middle school English courses, students are taught to find the underlying metaphors and describe their meanings in texts and essays assigned to them. It has now become common today for the brain to skim over these metaphors. They are used so frequently that we have begun to breeze over them like normal text without meaning.

    • Tatyana Markovich

      When it comes to the topic of metaphors, most of us will readily agree that they are everywhere and have become a way of communication to humans. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of how and when it is appropriate to use them. Some are convinced that they should be specifically used for poetry and books, whereas others maintain that metaphors should be used freely to anyone who chooses to use them. The standard way of thinking about metaphors is that they are basic comparisons using the creative part of the brain to create a similarity between two things. We are introduced to the idea of these comparisons through fables as young children all the way through high school. Creating and identifying these comparisons with the intent to better understand essays and text being read in class. Metaphors have become such a key part of our language that it has now become common today for the brain to skim over them. For some, reading or speaking metaphorically has become regular speech, meaning the metaphors are being breezed over and not taken “seriously”.

  44. modryna

    Metaphors are used in every day context to help people better understand a variety of things. Metaphors are used in all applications of life to help people better understand what they are trying to grasp. By comparing two things that may seem like they have nothing in common, you could find your way to understanding something. Making little mistakes by comparing things that have nothing to do with each other, it could lead you to what you are looking for in the first place. Metaphors bring out ideas that would not otherwise be explored by the average person. Comparing a paintbrush to a pump may make no sense off the start, but if you look deeper into it, they both are used to disperse liquids, or pump out liquids. If you make these little comparisons, it could lead you to the truth you were looking for in the first place.

  45. kharding3


    Metaphors seem to hold a firm grasp on everyday life. They all seem to have different meanings and how they affect a person when used in different settings. Personal experience with metaphors seems to grow more and more when used and when we start to understand what goes into creating one. When used in everyday life they seem to have lesser and that they are in a sense less “rare” in the medical field they are important due to the fact that doctors have a higher power over in a sense because of the fact that we trust them with our lives. Within the articles “See through words” written by Michael Erad, the article, “Metaphorically Speaking” written by James Geary, and the last article, “The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors” which was written by Dhruv Khullar each goes on to explain how using metaphors can help with how we perceive our bodies, our thoughts, experience. To have the perfect metaphor there are ways to create the perfect one and there are ways to not create a perfect one. Using a metaphor in the wrong context can have an effect on people both positively and negatively, so that is why there needs to be a perfect balance and that you need to understand.

  46. slyytikainen

    Do metaphors have a role on how we perceive our bodies, experience sickness, and pursue health? Metaphors are a large part of the human language. However, every person interprets metaphors differently. Personally, I strongly believe that metaphors can have a negative impact on all of the above. However, since metaphors are different for every person, I do not think should be reduced. It has been taken into consideration that metaphors can sway the way patients’ look at their health. Therefore, people who work in the medical professions should be well educated of the consequences and benefits military metaphors can have on a patient’s health and state of well being. This can help the care providers approach the patient the best with what works for their experience.

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