Analogy Definition

An analogy is a comparison in which an idea or a thing is compared to another thing that is quite different from it. It aims at explaining that idea or thing by comparing it to something that is familiar. Metaphors and similes are tools used to draw an analogy. Therefore, analogy is more extensive and elaborate than either a simile or a metaphor. Consider the following example:

“Structure of an atom is like a solar system. Nucleus is the sun and electrons are the planets revolving around their sun.”

Here an atomic structure is compared to a solar system by using “like”. Therefore, it is a simileMetaphor is used to relate the nucleus to the sun and the electrons to the planets without using words “like” or “as’. Hence, similes and metaphors are employed to develop an analogy.

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Examples of Analogy from Everyday life

We use analogy in our everyday conversation. Some common analogy examples are given below:

  • Life is like a race. The one who keeps running wins the race and the one who stops to catch a breath loses.
  • Just as a sword is the weapon of a warrior, a pen is the weapon of a writer.
  • How a doctor diagnoses diseases is like how a detective investigates crimes.
  • Just as a caterpillar comes out of its cocoon, so we must come out of our comfort zone.
  • You are as annoying as nails on a chalkboard.

Analogy Examples in Literature

Examples #1

The lines below were taken from George Orwell’s narrative essay “A Hanging” where it exhibits an analogy between a prisoner and a fish.

“They crowded very close about him, with their hands always on him in a careful, caressing grip, as though all the while feeling him to make sure he was there. It was like men handling a fish which is still alive and may jump back into the water.”

The people are taking a prisoner to the gallows to be hanged. They are holding him firmly as if he were a fish which might slip and escape.

Examples #2

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow uses analogy in the below lines taken from his poem “The Day Is Done”.

“Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start.”

He relates his poems to the summer showers and tears from the eyes. He develops the similarity to show spontaneity of art when it directly comes out from the heart of an artist.

Examples #3

These lines are taken from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Act II, Scene II.

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

Juliet is indirectly saying that just like a rose that will always smell sweet by whichever name it is called; she will like Romeo even if he changes his name.