The Simile Poem: “Simile” by N. Scott Momaday

Remember back in the day when you asked your teacher for a simile poem, and she gave you a condescending look and said there’s no such thing. Well, there is, literally, a simile poem or, more accurately, a poem called “Simile” by N. Scott Momaday.

Here’s a lesson plan: Examples of Figurative Language in Poetry

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Mastering Poems with Similes

Poetry lesson plans with link

There’ll be no more stammering through 45 minutes of discussing a poem that takes 2 minutes to read. The Poetry Part 1 teaching guide includes a summary and analysis of 14 poems; a ready-to-annotate and analyze copy of each poem; graphic organizers for digging deeper into metaphors, similes, personification, imagery, and theme; a guide for annotating and analyzing a poem; and answer keys for everything.
It’s all bundled into one nice pdf. All you need to do is make copies and do what you do.

This guide to mastering similes is as useful as a high-powered magnet in a grain silo. The poetry master should be able to do the following.

  1. Define simile: Give the definition. A simile is the comparison between two unlike things using like or as. This step can be accomplished by anybody willing to spend the 4 minutes necessary for memorization.
  2. Identify similes: Good, but it still falls short of mastery.
  3. Interpret similes: Explaining why the author chooses a particular simile and what effect it has on the poem’s theme makes one nearly a master of simile.
  4. Use similes: Being able to use similes to convey more clearly a specific message means mastery.

“Simile” by N.Scott Momaday

Poem: “A Simile” by N. Scott Momaday

What did we say to each other
that now we are as the deer
who walk in single file
with heads high
with ears forward
with eyes watchful
with hooves always placed on firm ground
in whose limbs there is latent flight

Simile: The entire poem is a simile. Line 2 contains the comparison “and we are like the deer” and the rest of the poem describes in what manner his people are like the deer.

Analysis: Momaday writes of the fate of Native Americans, having himself grown up on the Kiawa Indian reservation. The deer is portrayed as submissive, yet noble, able to break forth without warning.

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