Analogy in Literature: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Definition of an Analogy
  • 1:37 Examples
  • 2:58 Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Spitzig

Sarah has taught secondary math and English in three states, and is currently living and working in Ontario, Canada. She has recently earned a Master's degree.

In this lesson, you will learn the definition of an analogy, how to use this common literary device in writing and how to interpret its meaning when reading text.

Definition of an Analogy

Literary devices are used in writing to enhance the meaning and images of a piece of writing, usually through comparison. Comparisons are often made so the reader can get a better sense or image about what is happening in the story. There are many kinds of literary devices, such as alliteration, simile, metaphor and idiom, just to name a few. They often give meaning to the writing so the reader can better interpret the story as a whole.

An analogy is a literary device that creates a relationship based on parallels or connections between two ideas. By establishing this relationship, the new idea is introduced through a familiar comparison, thus making the new concept easier to grasp. This is done in an effort to create similarities between the two subjects in order to give the reader an image and a point of comparison.

Simple analogies compare two things using a common framework. For example, 'Horse is to foal as dog is to puppy.' We understand that both ideas are comparing baby animals. Look at the following picture to see another example of a simple analogy:


So, 'Sock are to feet as gloves are to hands.'

Complex analogies make a more implicit comparison that helps the reader familiarize and visualize the relationship between the two things. For example, 'She was as cold as ice,' indicates that the girl was mean. Even though ice is not mean, the sentence evokes a feeling for the reader that she was very mean by comparing her to ice.

Examples of Analogies

Here are some examples of how to effectively use analogies in writing to compare the unknown to the known in order to make the subject more familiar to the reader.

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