“A novel is never anything but a philosophy put into images.” Albert Camus
Peering into one metaphor alone is like looking though a prism of possibilities. A well-chosen and well-placed phrase provides a dazzling vista of interpretation.
For example, a recent conversation on ‘a castle’ included multiple ways to focus a setting through metaphor and theme.
In the movie The Secret of Moonacre there are two distinct castles, each a reflection on choices. The choices were made hundreds of years earlier but continue to enslave the descendants as each generation takes up a personal decision to perpetuate the feud.
One castle is in ruins; empty, cold, a shadow of its former life. It is a place of sorrow and lost opportunity with only three inhabitants left.
The other castle is stark, cold, grey and brimming with people. Busy, bustling, overflowing inhabitants filled to the brim with anger and revenge. And a closer look reveals a castle in decay as well.
Both castles have become mirror images of heart choices. The reality of this concrete metaphor unfolds with greater perception as the story shows all its secrets and mysteries.
Choose the place that is most important to your character, or most central to the story question. Costume it from a variety of styles: old and decaying, ordinary, flashy, sophisticated, copycat or with a brand new coat of paint. Which version becomes a metaphor for your character’s heart?