Skip to main content

Jacob Says...

Peer Centered Response

“A Metaphor is a Glorious thing”

I like metaphors. A lot. They make explaining essay writing a lot easier sometimes.

Say, for example, the writer’s essay seems to kind of sort of linger around the point a little, and the essay’s language feels a bit convoluted because the writer’s kind of trying really hard to stress something or something else about a certain subject, but the writer is not really sure how to kind of phrase it in an adequate way so that said point comes out clear and concise-like.

Voila—Burger King Metaphor.

Say you’re at a Burger King drive-thru. You’re there for one reason and one reason only—to get a Whopper. When the employee says, “Welcome to Burger King, how may I take your order,” what do you say?

--“I want a Whopper.”


--“Well, I think I’m going to get a hamburger, but I don’t want it to be too small or too large, so I’m probably going to go with the Whopper please.”

The BK employee is the reader. The customer ordering the food is the writer. It is the writer’s (customer’s) responsibility to get his or her point across clearly so that the reader (BK employee) knows exactly what he or she is talking about.

That’s what we’re going for with college-level essay writing. Not “dumbing it down” per se, but rather keeping language in an understandable context. How do we remember to do this when we’re writing? Burger King Metaphor. Be bold with your writing. Don’t feel you have to hide want you want—i.e., a Whopper—with super tedious sentences. Be precise. Affirmative. Uncomplicated.

More to come in following posts…


  1. I like metaphors, too! The challenge for me is trying to think of something that hasn't been used before or is cliche.

    How do you train your mind to think of unique metaphors in relation to what you are writing?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I like the BK metaphor, Jacob. And, I might "borrow" (or steal) it in consultations to come.

    Sometimes, I read or listen to a student's essay, and, although I know what they're saying, I also know it'd be stronger if the language was simpler. The BK metaphor would be perfect for addressing these situations.

    Almost on subject...

    The other day, I read a student's paper aloud. In every paragraph, there were many six-plus syllable words, half of which I had never heard of. While I was sure that the writer knew how to pronouce them and what they meant, I had a really hard time understanding the paper--and READING it aloud.

    I'd stumble and stutter, and he'd correct and explain. I felt really stupid. We talked a little about word choice, but it wasn't the main topic. It should have been a larger piece of our conversation, though.

    The BK metaphor would've been an effective way to enter into the word choice, reader's comprehension conversation...



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Enough with the Prosti----- already

While I admit I was once intrigued by the prostitute-consultant analogy, not by what Scott Russell had to say about it but by some of the ideas we threw around in class the other day, I can honestly say, now, that I am beginning to move away from the metaphor. While I once connected prostitution and the writing center through their brief meetings and levels of intimacy, I now question the nature of those meetings and the levels of intimacy available, and like David said in class, I agree that the comparison is a stretch. Here’s where I struggle with a connection between meeting a stranger, a prostitute, for sex, and meeting a consultant at the writing center. Although the ‘client,’ ‘student,’ or whatever, meets with a stranger for a limited period time to meet a specific desire, the level of intimacy between sex with a prostitute and a writing consultation differs. It is my experience that consultations between peers can be genuinely intimate as one discusses personal thoughts—there i…

IWCA Forum: Peer Tutor => What do we call ourselves: the poll!

I have posted a poll in the IWCA forums: IWCA Forum: Peer Tutor => What do we call ourselves: the poll! It is a part of an earlier discussion that kind of petered out about the titles used for writing center workers. Please take a moment and vote! If you don't have an account on the forum, you can register for one by clicking on the "Register" link (next to the rocket icon in the top-right of the page.) Don't forget to state your institutional affiliation when you request and account. (That's how the IWCA Forum keeps out spam accounts.)