Figuratively Speaking

October 12, 2010 at 6:39 am 9 comments

I need the help of my fellow grammarians and literary technicians.

While in the midst of poetry analysis, I prompted the class to remind me what a simile was versus a metaphor. One student gave the correct definition, and his neighbor added an example: “like a G6.”

A less (tragically?) hip teacher might not have appreciated the example, but THIS teacher is the one who gets teased at Homecoming because she’s singing along to all the hip hop songs right along with her students. My student was, of course, referencing a fine piece of literature by the poetic masterminds of Far East Movement: “Like a  G6.” For your enjoyment, I provide the audio here and lyrics below; scroll down if you want to skip straight to the point.

Poppin’ bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right, gettin slizzard
Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride, like Three 6
Now I’m feelin so fly, like a G6
Like a G6, like a G6
Now I’m feelin’ so fly, like a G6

Gimme that Moet
Gimme that Crystal
Ladies love my style, at my table gettin’ wild
Get them bottles poppin, we get that drip and that drop
Now give me two more bottles cuz you know it don’t stop

(808) Hell Yeaa
Drink it up, drink-drink it up,
When sober girls around me, they be actin like they drunk
They be actin like they drunk, actin-actin like they drunk
When sober girls around me actin-actin like they drunk

Poppin’ bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right, gettin slizzard
Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride, like Three 6
Now I’m feelin so fly, like a G6
Like a G6, like a G6
Now I’m feelin’ so fly, like a G6

Sippin’ on, sippin’ on sizz, Ima make it fizz
Girl I keep it gangsta, poppin’ bottles at the crib
This is how we live, every single night
Take that bottle to the head, and let me see you fly

(808) Hell Yeaa
Drink it up, drink-drink it up,
When sober girls around me, they be actin like they drunk
They be actin like they drunk, actin-actin like they drunk
When sober girls around me actin-actin like they drunk

Poppin’ bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right, gettin slizzard
Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride, like Three 6
Now I’m feelin so fly, like a G6
Like a G6, like a G6
Now I’m feelin’ so fly, like a G6

It’s that 808 bump, make you put yo hands up
Make you put yo hands up, put yo, put yo hands up
(You can’t touch this)
It’s that 808 bump, make you put yo hands up
Make you put yo hands up, put yo, put yo hands up
(You can’t touch this)
Hell yeah, make you put yo hands up, put yo put yo hands up
Hell yeah, make you put yo hands up, put yo put yo hands up

Poppin’ bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right, gettin slizzard
Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride, like Three 6
Now I’m feelin so fly, like a G6
Like a G6, like a G6
Now I’m feelin’ so fly, like a G6

So as I was saying…

The identification of “feeling so fly like a G6” as a simile is, patently, spot-on. (And may I suggest that classic video for any “film as literature” classes, noting in particular the actress’s earrings as she shops for champagne?) Another simile would be “poppin’ bottles in the ice like a blizzard,” although the attribution is a little ambiguous; is the ice like a blizzard, or is it the person doing the poppin’?

My question – and I’m actually being halfway serious about this – has to do with this line:

When sober girls around me, they be actin like they drunk.

Is that a simile?

If it said “when sober girls around me, they be like they drunk,” I’d have no question. That would certainly be a simile. It’s that word acting that has me confused. It’s not that the sobor girls are like drunk girls; they’re merely acting like they’ve over-imbibed. Does sincerity of action determine identification as a simile? That is to say – do you have to actually be like that thing, or can you just be acting like you are?

That child is like a little monkey. That child is acting like a little monkey. Are they both similes?

Also: what is “slizzard,” and where can I get some “sizzurp,” whatever that is? Or do I want sizzurp? It sounds a bit as though someone combined scissors with cough syrup, which actually doesn’t sound like my sort of cocktail at all….

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Entry filed under: BRAINCLOUDS, FUN STUFF, TALES FROM SCHOOL.

From the Mouths of Babes Game Time!

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. More Backposts « Full of Bees!  |  October 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    […] a “seriously? did you just say that?” moment from the first day of school, as well as a nagging professional question regarding figurative language. […]

    Reply
  • 2. Jessica  |  November 2, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Sizzurp actually DOES involve an ingredient of cough syrup

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sizzurp

    (you can thank TMZ for my catching the reference, however 😉

    Reply
  • 4. Seriously, Though, Guys… « Full of Bees!  |  November 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    […] know it’s a silly post, but the whole simile-or-not-a-simile issue is making me quite insane… Any help out […]

    Reply
  • 5. Mrs. Bees  |  November 2, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I THOUGHT sizzurp sounded like something a hip (as in cool, not as in legs) doctor would prescribe for a cough.

    Reply
  • 6. Rachel  |  November 3, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Interesting question! I think that even though it’s just one small word, “acting” does make a difference. Just the inclusion of that makes it not a simile in my opinion; if it is a simile, it is a weak one. Throwing in “acting” means that the subject perhaps doesn’t actually share those qualities but just seems to behave in a certain way without actually “owning” that trait. It’s like how we can get out of calling a kid a “fool.” “I didn’t say you were a fool, I said you were acting like a fool!” Does that make sense?

    It detracts overall from the image, I think, so why not just use the straight simile? In this example, it might be an issue of meter. But it could also spark an interesting discussion with the students. Which would be a more valuable presentation in writing and why?

    Reply
  • 7. sassybug  |  November 3, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Before I answer I need to you know that I am a math teacher, not an english teacher. It has been a long time since I have reviewed what a simile is and what it is not.

    So having said that, I vote no. It is not a simile. My understanding if simile was to compare something to something that it can not be. “like, a pig, like a car” things you can’t become.

    Just a math teachers vote…

    Reply
  • 8. OKP  |  November 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    My take: “Acting like they drunk” isn’t a strong simile — if it is one at all. Similes are supposed to be two dissimilar things that need a whole figure of speech to connect them.

    GIRLS acting like another type of GIRLS. Not a simile. The monkey simile works (even with the “acts like”) because the two items being compared are inherently dissimilar.

    Reply
  • 9. Angela  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I vote no. I think that “acting” takes the similie right out of the situation. Kelly also votes no because the two things being compared aren’t dissimilar enough to count for a similie.

    Reply

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