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It's a metaphor?

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Claire I personally don't understand how this is a metaphor. I mean read it!

“It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing.”

Would someone please explain to me how not giving something the power to kill you is a metaphor?


message 2: by Bekah (new) - added it

Bekah Magwood He's putting something dangerous near him, something that could kill him, or not, and he is the one who gets to decide whether or not it has power to kill him. It's a metaphor because he isn't lighting the cigarette... Now, I understand, at first I wasn't sure how it was a metaphor either. In fact, it might be more of a statement than a metaphor. If he lit the cigarette, that would definitely be a statement. You're right though, it doesn't exactly make sense at first.


Emily When I read it I was like, "hey, I don't think that's a metaphor, that's more like irony."

And I still stand by that statement. That isn't a metaphor, it's ironic. Why, you ask? Because you're doing something that'd possibly kill you, but not letting it do its job of killing you. I also think it was ironic, considering the ending of the book.


Alisha It is totally a metaphor. I mean, he has the power to kill himself but instead he decides to save himself by not giving it the power to kill!


Gandalfgrijs I think it's a metaphor with cancer. He has (had) cancer and he has no choiche in there. The cigarette is there between his lips.
Now he could be totally depressed, think that he is gonna die and drown in selfpity (lit the cigarette) or he could just cope with it and move on. Ignore it. Don't lit it.


message 6: by Neha (last edited Apr 18, 2014 02:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neha I also have the same question. As far as I know metaphor is used for direct comparisons. It's like a simile, but more direct. For instance
He has a sunny personality (here it means cheerful).
Life is a rollercoaster- This is definitely a proper metaphor from the book.
She is night owl.

And more examples like that. Then how the 'putting killing thing in your mouth but it won't kill' becomes a metaphor??


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I once saw an interpretation of it that said, "Augustus smoked to prove he wouldn't die." That kind of sums up how I feel about it. He's had cancer, and 'looked death in the eye.' Now, the unlit cigarette is kind of an act of rebellion, looking back at death and saying, "I have control over my life- and my death." He needs to feel like he has some power in his crazy, illness-ridden existence.
(He is also incredibly pretentious, so much that it is a character flaw, so he might also just think it's cool or something...)


Neha Carraway wrote: "I once saw an interpretation of it that said, "Augustus smoked to prove he wouldn't die." That kind of sums up how I feel about it. He's had cancer, and 'looked death in the eye.' Now, the unlit ci..."

Wow thanks. It sorts up a lot of things to me:)


Siobhan I hate to be the person to support the idea that this is a metaphor, but it does fit with dictionary.com's second definition of a metaphor:

"met·a·phor [met-uh-fawr, -fer] Show IPA
noun
1.
a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” Compare mixed metaphor, simile ( def 1 ) .
2.
something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol."


It's a shame the representation doesn't make sense ...


Rachel Paige Emily wrote: "When I read it I was like, "hey, I don't think that's a metaphor, that's more like irony."

And I still stand by that statement. That isn't a metaphor, it's ironic. Why, you ask? Because you're doi..."


I definitely agree, this is a wonderful example of irony, but not a metaphor.


Helen Stevens Alisha wrote: "It is totally a metaphor. I mean, he has the power to kill himself but instead he decides to save himself by not giving it the power to kill!"

I think you misunderstand what a metaphor is.


message 12: by Emma (new) - rated it 2 stars

Emma It's a metaphor because he is comparing the cigarette (the "killing thing") to cancer (also a "killing thing"). The difference lies in that he has no choice in whether cancer kills him, but he can choose not to let the cigarette kill him by refusing to light it. Personally, I think it's pretty stupid, but it is a metaphor.


message 13: by Jess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jess Zara wrote: "I personally don't understand how this is a metaphor. I mean read it!

“It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing.”..."

You can stop the killing and therfore he saves himself because he was nearly dead.Like Hazel Grace says "Dying is the side affect"


Geraldine Rachel wrote: "Emily wrote: "When I read it I was like, "hey, I don't think that's a metaphor, that's more like irony."

And I still stand by that statement. That isn't a metaphor, it's ironic. Why, you ask? Beca..."


I totally agree it seems more irony, that metaphor. Just as the book is very good.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Well a metaphor is saying one thing IS something else. so this is more ironic than metaphorical.


message 16: by Aya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aya Telmissany Wattpadian wrote: "I personally don't understand how this is a metaphor. I mean read it!

“It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing.”..."


It is a metaphor. I do agree that it's also an irony but metaphors consist of assimilating one thing to another. And here, the cigarette is assimilated to cancer. Cancer has the power to kill him but he doesn't let it(probably by having hope and fighting and that kind of stuff). And the irony would be that even though he did not give it the power to kill him, it still did eventually kill him. Because it's not up to him whether to let it kill him or not, it's in the stars, that was the "fault" in his own stars.


message 17: by Sana (new) - added it

Sana Chaudhry Emma wrote: "It's a metaphor because he is comparing the cigarette (the "killing thing") to cancer (also a "killing thing"). The difference lies in that he has no choice in whether cancer kills him, but he can ..."

Exactly... I took it the same way.


Niveditha Well, a character in a novel saying that something is a metaphor is not the same thing as the author of the novel saying that it’s a metaphor. Gus’s intellectual grasp often exceeds his reach (he calls a monologue a soliloquy, and misuses quite a few of the bigger words in his vocabulary). But I do think the cigarette is a metaphor, albeit a different one for us than it is for him.

Gus’s idea is that the cigarette is a metaphor for illness, and he keeps it unlit and in his mouth as an expression of his power over illness. “You put the killing thing between your teeth but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” Gus’s thinking here is that HE has the power. This is why he tends to use the cigarette when he’s feeling nervous or powerless. (He’s also using the most famous commercially available carcinogen to make this statement, so obviously there’s a connection there in his mind: Humans can prevent cancer by not smoking; cancer is something we can have power over; your job is not to give cancer the power to kill you; etc.)

But of course Gus is wrong about all of this, or at least almost all of it. You may have SOME control over whether you die of cancer (you can choose not to smoke), but in most cases humans don’t have control over illness. “You don’t give it the power to do its killing” imagines more agency over illness than we actually have, because in the end much of the fault is in the stars, not in ourselves. So to us, the unlit cigarette is a metaphor for our false perception of control, and our urgent need to feel in control. It’s no coincidence, then, that when Gus’s life is spiraling out of control and he finds himself powerless before fate, he tries (and fails) to buy cigarettes.


message 19: by Sebastien (last edited Feb 06, 2017 04:32AM) (new)

Sebastien I know it's been a while, but there is a word that was never used here, which seemed odd to me.
Here, Gus represents an abstract concept (taking something that might kill you, but not allowing it to kill you), with a cigarette between his teeth. This has nothing to do with a metaphor, but I believe a few people would call it an allegory.


Niveditha Sebastien wrote: "I know it's been a while, but there is a word that was never used here, which seemed odd to me.
Here, Gus represents an abstract concept (taking something that might kill you, but not allowing it t..."
Well, a metaphor and an allegory might essentially seem synonymous, though they aren't, but they're not polar opposites either. I disagree with you about the cigarette, it is most definitely a metaphor. A metaphor is, according to Google 'a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.' Fits perfectly, doesn't it? Whereas an allegory is usually a story or a painting (not just a word) which is used to refer to something more deep and profound. Besides, an allegory is more about the hidden meaning or idea it wants to convey, whereas a metaphor is a mere representation of just about anything. So the cigarette is more of a metaphor, actually,


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