What Is An Analogy Essay?
An analogy compares two unlike things to illustrate common elements of both. An analogy essay is an extended analogy, which explains one thing in considerable depth by comparing it to another. Analogy essays discuss nearly anything, as long as the writer can find a comparison that fits.
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How to use analogies:
- As introductions for papers where you want to show how two ideas are parallel.
- To explain unknown/abstract concepts in terms familiar to or easily understood by your reader. For example when explaining the storage pattern for a Macintosh computer, you might liken the hard drive icon to a large filing cabinet.
Steps For Writing An Analogy Essay
1. Come up with an analogy
One-half of the analogy is the subject of explanation, while the other half is the explainer. For example, if you said growing up is like learning to ride a bike, you would be explaining something complex and subtle (growing up) in terms of something simple that your audience will be familiar with (riding a bike.)
2. Draw a vertical line down the middle of a piece of paper to divide it in half.
On one half, write characteristics of the explainer, and on the other half, the explained. Try to match up the characteristics. For example, training wheels might be similar to having to have lots of supervision when you are young.
3. Write a paragraph discussing the explainer.
Start with a statement like "Growing up is like learning to ride a bike." Then explain the stages of learning to ride a bike.
4. Write a paragraph discussing the explained.
Start with a statement that gives an overview of what the two shares. In the example above, you might say something like "Growing up also involves getting greater and greater freedoms as you become more confident”. Then explain the steps of the explained in a way that parallels the explainer.
5. Discuss the differences.
Sometimes there is a very important aspect of the explained that does not match up with the explainer. For example, in the above essay, you eventually completely learn to ride a bike, but you never stop growing up and learning new things. You may want to draw attention to this important distinction.
6. Review your choice of words for denotation and connotation.
The allure of analogies is such that they can lend themselves to exaggeration. Fight this tendency, as it will only jeopardize your credibility.
Baking a cake
Any baker will tell you that creating a successful confectionery demands his paying attention to a great many details, all of which can be compared to writing a successful critical essay:
baker's recipe = writer's outline
This is the overall blueprint which represents not only the desired end result of your efforts, but the exact way in which you will achieve that end. It includes the names and amounts of ingredients, directions on how to prepare, combine, and cook ingredients, and any other details necessary to the project. A writer's outline should offer an overall view of the project, carefully setting forth not only the arguments of the essay, but how those arguments will be argued.
good ingredients = supporting details
The baker's ingredients might include eggs, flour, milk, and sugar. The writer's ingredients might be details of plot and supporting quotations from the text. In neither case is it acceptable to plop down the ingredients and call it a finished product! You wouldn't call a bag of groceries a cake; don't call a collection of details an essay!
Take your raw material and make something of it!
Both bakers and writers must determine exactly how much room to devote to particular ingredients. In both cases, an ingredient might be essential, but too much of that one thing could ruin the cake. You can easily err in the other direction, too. Careful!
order of presentation of ingredients
A good recipe will tell the baker to keep dry ingredients separate from liquid, or in what order to add certain ingredients in the cooking process. A good writer will understand that it is not just the argument itself that can persuade, but the overall presentation that can augment or diminish the persuasiveness of the presentation. All writers should consider in what order to present his arguments - which to save for last, which to start off with. It can make a world of difference in the end.
how to mix the ingredients
A lot depends on the right method of mixing the ingredients together: sometimes the recipe calls for a gentle folding-in of ingredients, and sometimes you really have to mash stuff together using a blender! The same goes for writing an essay - determine the best and most persuasive way to present every argument. Is this a good place to paraphrase the text, or does this observation need a direct textual citation as support? Don't belabor a minor point, and don't leave a major point in chunks. Everything should be blended into the body of the essay appropriately, according to its nature.
After a cake is prepared according to the recipe, it needs to go in the oven, where everything comes together. The "baking time" of an essay can correspond to the time the writer devotes to crystallizing the ideas he has set forth in the course of the essay. If you don't bake it long enough, then you risk ending up with mush. If you keep it in too long, your reader will get indigestion. Spend just enough time at the end of your essay pulling together the threads of your argument...and then let it cool!
Every cook has his own secret ingredient that makes his concoction uniquely his own. Writers work that way, too, except with writers it is more a question of style than anything else.
an appetizing end result
A nice presentation caps a baker's effort. Make your essay look like it is worth reading (neat, proofed), just like any good cake looks like it is worth eating.