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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  • First Published:
    Sep 2013, 144 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2014, 144 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

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About this Book

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 object or idea ...

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