Metaphorically Speaking: The Power of Metaphor: Background information when reading Levels of Life

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Levels of Life

By Julian Barnes

Levels of Life
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2013,
    144 pages.
    Paperback: 1 Jul 2014,
    144 pages.

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Beyond the Book:
Metaphorically Speaking: The Power of Metaphor

In Levels of Life, Julian Barnes creates an extended metaphor between the trials of hot air ballooning and the experience of love found and lost. In one example he writes:

Grief is vertical – and vertiginous – while mourning is horizontal. Grief makes your stomach turn, snatches the breath from you, cuts off the blood supply to the brain; mourning blows you in a new direction. But since you are now in enveloping cloud, it is impossible to tell if you are marooned or deceptively in motion. …You are a first-time aeronaut, alone beneath the gasbag, equipped with a few kilos of ballast, and told that this item in your hand you've never seen before is the valve-line.

From Greek mythology, to Shakespeare, to Star Wars, metaphors have been used throughout history, arguably as one of language's most powerful and descriptive tools.

Star WarsAccording to Merriam-Webster, a metaphor is "a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of ...

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