Part of Lesson Plan: Serious About Literature and Metaphor
Activity Overview / Details
Visual storytelling is facilitated with an understanding of how to portray ideas as visual metaphors. A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent some intangible quality or idea or else some less tangible thing. For example: "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Unlike analogy, no specific interpretation of metaphor is given explicitly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor).
Example: A visual metaphor : the front cover of the book 101 Billionaires (published 2008, by Rob Hornstra and text by Hans Loos and Arnold van Bruggen). While its title derives from the assertion in the Russian magazine Finans that Russia then had 101 (US dollar) billionaires, the book portrays Russians who were pummeled by this huge transfer of wealth.
If needed, prepare additional examples of metaphor for students.
For class discussion, show the excerpt from "The Raven" round-robin. This video was constructed when multiple people around the internet all took different stanzas of the Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven and all did their own interpretation, then spliced them together.
Class discussion: How are the interpretations unique or similar? What visual metaphors are used to enhance the interpretation? Are the visual representations and the narrative complimentary or conflicting?
Have students break into groups. Assign one stanza of the poem to each group (see attached). What visual metaphors are suggested by each stanza? Have groups discuss and present to the class.
If you want to lighten the mood after the discussion, show the attached Simpsons version of the same topic.
Exercise: Have students read the Joseph Campbell interview as homework. Once they are done, have them bring into class examples of visual metaphors that they discover online, in magazines, on book covers, in movies, etc.