What is the best kind of metaphor?


James Wood (2008) answers:

The kind of metaphor I most delight in […] estranges and then instantly connects, and in doing the latter so well, hides the former. The result is a tiny shock of surprise, followed by a feeling of inevitability. In To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Ramsay says goodnight to her children, and carefully closes the bedroom door, and lets “the tongue of the door slowly lengthen in the lock.” The metaphor in that sentence lies not so much in “tongue,” which is fairly conventional (since people do talk about locks having tongues) but is secretly buried in the verb, “lengthen.” That verb lengthens the whole procedure: Isn’t this the best description you have ever read of someone very sl-o-w-ly turning a handle of a door so as not to waken children? (209)

Well, I haven’t read many descriptions of someone slowly turning a door handle, so I don’t know if this is the best. But it is a nice one. Do you have other examples of good metaphors? 

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