Analogous comparisons in the pieces of literature imply placing alike objects, personas, or concepts in close proximity with an aim to portray the traits that they share. This linguistic tool is oftentimes applied in everyday conversations as a part of rhetoric and plays the role of reasoning, which implies referring one phenomenon to another based on the analogy between them.
The term derives from the word “análogos” (Greek), which translates as “equivalent,” “proportionate.” It was first mentioned in English somewhere around 1640-1650.
Analogous comparisons, which authors oftentimes implement in their works, can be executed with the help of some supplementary linguistic tools. They have similar meaning and role as the analogous elements, but still shouldn’t be confused with the original term. These tools include:
simile, which is a comparison itself but not as strong or complex as analogous elements or metaphorical details;
metaphor, which involves the use of two phenomena or objects in order to state that one of them is actually the other one;
allegory, which implies the implementation of symbolism in order to create a connection between two different phenomena or objects based on some of the traits that they share.
The term “analogous” can oftentimes be used freely and gets confused with the related synonyms, such as “similar” and “parallel.” While having alike meanings, these linguistic terms have some subtle differences, which are oftentimes hard to distinguish. Similar, for instance, suggests two or more phenomena or objects resembling each other, thus making them easy to be mistaken for each other. Parallel implies the similarities in the process of development of two concepts or situations. Analogous, on the other hand, involves two phenomena that initially belong to different categories but still have some alike traits.
Analogous comparisons are quite versatile and flexible; therefore, they provide authors with a lot of creative space. They can be implemented when the writer wishes to establish a certain connection between the two unlikely concepts or objects. This helps the reader understand them better and perceive the author’s message.
This technique is also helpful for allowing the reader to visualize the characters and their personalities better and in more depth. When creating an analogy, the author gives the reader a chance to compare the heroes or the objects and analyze their nature by doing so.
Analogous comparisons also serve to add some depth to the general image of the narration. This can oftentimes be spotted in poetry, when the author creates analogies between human emotions and the phenomena of the surrounding world, such as storms or blooming of the plants. This helps the reader perceive a brighter, more vivid picture and a more artistic presentation of the narrative.
Analogous comparisons are oftentimes implemented when the author needs to introduce a new notion that might be difficult for the reader to understand, as they might not be quite familiar with it yet. Therefore, by discovering analogous traits between a new phenomenon and a certain familiar idea, the author presents a basis for the reader’s comprehension without having to give a detailed explanation of the new concept.
The use of analogous comparisons isn’t limited strictly to pieces of literature. We employ this linguistic tool in everyday life as well, as it serves to help us express our feelings clearer. For instance, people oftentimes compare their emotions and inner experiences with a roller coaster, which helps them express the complexity of their feelings.
The examples of analogous comparisons can be found in numerous pieces of literature. For instance, Shakespeare, who is famous for his expansive use of numerous linguistic tools, masterfully implements analogous elements in his work “Romeo and Juliet.” Here, the author juxtaposes the heroine’s beauty with a rich jewel, making the comparison sound more artistic and poetic. This also helps the reader create a more vivid picture of the heroine in their minds.
In his “Tales of Wonder,” M. Twain implements analogous elements and compares evolution with a blind giant. This allows the author to convey his idea and deliver the message more clearly and in a more artistic way. The aim here is to illustrate how unpredictable the evolution is, just like a giant who cannot see anything around him.
In the “Animal Farm,” the author (G. Orwell) also employs a number of analogous elements. For instance, he draws a comparison between powerful men and pigs. Moreover, the whole narration is an analogy of the Russian Revolution. By using this linguistic tool, the author does a couple of things. He explains certain concepts in a more comprehensive way, allows the reader to reach their own conclusions based on the analogous elements, and creates a deeper, more vivid image of the society.