In the book 'Faults in our Stars' the grenade metaphor that is used is not good.
Debate Rounds (3)
I am arguing that the Grenade metaphor used in the said book, when the protagonist (Hazel Grace Lancaster) repetitively compares herself to a grenade because of her inevitably dying of cancer and affecting everyone who loved her with emotional pain is not a good metaphor and I argue that there is a better alternative and that the current metaphor has a different meaning than what the author (John Green) desired.
I will present my arguments and an alternative metaphor in round 2
metaphor - 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
good - adequate, satisfactory
I will be debating CON against the resolution: the grenade metaphor is very good in the context of the main character's predicament. If my opponent can show that the grenade metaphor is not good, he wins. I am burdened to prove the contrary. If I can show that the grenade metaphor used is indeed good, then I win.
Best of luck to the both of us.
Let's Get Started,
Hazel Grace (the protagonist/narrator) repetitively compares herself to a grenade because she feels that one day she will explode which is supposed to mean that when she eventually dies of her cancer, she will cause emotional pain to the people who loved her.
However I argue against the grenade metaphor because grenades (in real life) are not always lethal (concussion grenades) while Hazel's cancer is defenitely lethal
Even if only lethal grenades are implied, there are still faults with the metaphor.
Grenades are thrown away hence this implies that people close to Hazel are going to throw her away which she knows very well is not goint to happen. Her parents are not going to throw her out on the street and her boyfriend will not stop loving her, and I say this based on what they say and their personality development in the book.
Grenades can be detonated at will and have a certain time before it can go off.
Cancer cannot be set to kill her whenever anybody wants to and does not have a specified amount of time at which it can go off, in other words kill her. Since in the story, the miraculous phalanifixor has bought Hazel some time to live. Grenades cannot be set to explode later or sooner than their original setting especially after the pin has been removed.
In Hazel's case, the metaphorical pin of the grenade has been removed since she is suffering from cancer and can die at any time however her treatment buys her some time, while grenades cannot be manipulated in the same way after the pin is removed.
The bigger point is that in a grenade a pin can be removed and even re-inserted at will, thus the grenade metaphor implies that someone intentionally made Hazel have cancer(which did not happen) and that someone has the power to save her life.
Nobody has the power to save her life, and that is made quite apparent. People (doctors) can only extend her life which cannot be done to a grenade.
Thus, the grenade metaphor is an incorrect metaphor.
Therefore, I suggest that another metaphor should have been used.
I have 2 things in mind for an alternative metaphor:
1) Tsunami/Tidal wave
2) Active Volcano
Both are natural disasters which strike unexpectadly just like cancer and when it does splash the shore or erupt, it inflicts so much damage as we all know. Which could be compared to the emotional damage caused by Hazel's death.
Now I will compare these metaphors to the grenade metaphor
To finish off, the 3 bulletted points mentioned above must surely prove the alternative metaphors superior since it is a better comparison to Hazel's cancer.
I have two contentions, each of which, if uncontested is sufficient in affirming the CON position. Again, if I can show that the grenade metaphor is good as per the resolution (regardless of my opponent's arguments), I win the debate.
Contention 1: The grenade metaphor is good, or adequate, as a metaphor.
The situation to which the author attributes the metaphor is one of inevitable death and resulting pain to the surrounding area of the social network. When my opponent first introduced me to this scenario in round 1, I immediately drew a connection between the grenade metaphor to the protagonist's predicament: grenades explode and cause pain to the surrounding area and death at its epicenter; the protagonist is the grenade of cancer which is the area of maximum pain (death), and the pain the protagonist will cause will span radially outward with those closer to the center (socially closer to the protagonist) experiencing more emotional pain than those further from it (socially more distanced from the protagonist). My understanding of the metaphor is, however, not absolute. As long as the metaphor is applicably understood by any reader, it is sufficient to say that the metaphor is adequate or good.
Contention 2: Literal analogical applications of the grenade metaphor DO exist!! (which, I must say, due to the definition of a metaphor, does not need to be proven, but since my opponent's entire argument is based on literal analogical applications of metaphors, I might as well be a sport):
I will relate back to and quote from my first contention and add a little more to it to hammer the nail into that coffin.
"grenades explode and cause pain to the surrounding area and death at its epicenter; the protagonist is the grenade of cancer which is the area of maximum pain (death), and the pain the protagonist will cause will span radially outward with those closer to the center (socially closer to the protagonist) experiencing more emotional pain than those further from it (socially more distanced from the protagonist)." <--(aha! literal application!).
There is also something that I noticed exclusively about my opponent's argument against the grenade metaphor: Hazel, being a grenade, is at the control of her immediate relations to be unpinned and thrown. This would, indeed, create some literal issues with the metaphor. But let's take it from another perspective. The grenade is being controlled by a third, unrelated person, let's call this person GOD. GOD is the one who unpins and throws the grenade (Hazel) at Hazel's family and friends. This point of view effectively negates a good portion of my opponent's points of contention.
Now for some rebuttals to some moot points:
Let me wrap up by summoning my points back onto the table:
My opponent states that grenades is a better literal metaphor because it has an epicenter.
Well, Volcanoes have an epicenter too.
Things closer to the volcano will be damaged more than things further away from it obviously. So on this point, my alternate metaphor and the grenade metaphor is equal.
But this is the only point Con could bring up to counter my metaphor. Now that this is disproven, it is fair to say that my alternative metaphor is a better 'literal metaphor'
However, my opponent states that Metaphors need not be accurate 100%. So long as it is 'adequate', it is good.
I do not believe that the grenade metaphor is 'adequate' enough because:
a) I and many others do not believe in a superior being like god so we cannot think that someone intentionally pulled the grenade pin AND gave it a specific timer, which my opponent suggests . And nature does not intentionally pull this grenade pin and give it a specific timer to go off. In other words Hazel is chosen by nature to get cancer to kill her at a SPECIFIC TIME, ridiculous right?
(Yes, genetics are involved however it is still a fair gamble whether Hazel will get terminal cancer or not, besides her parents do not have cancer).
b) The doctors do infact, buy her some time. Without the treatment, Hazel's lungs would have failed completely. My opponent says that "The pin was pulled at birth. She will die when she is destined to die." I am sorry, I refuse to take that argument seriously as long as rational thinking exists.
c) It really depends upon the person whether they understand this metaphor in the way my opponent has instead of thinking of it more deeply like I have. However, the alternative metaphor(s) are adequate for people who think of the metaphor less or deeply.
The whole point of a metaphor is to make a comparison between 2 objects so that people can make connections to understand the author's point better.
The readers need to understand that connection to make the metaphor worthwhile. As proved above, the people who do not believe in a higher being and the deep thinking readers may not understand the metaphor as my opponent (and many of the people reading this) has understood it.
And I guess my opponent will say that most readers will not think of this metaphor too much like I did.
This is a major metaphor in the story, infact this is the primary source of conflict in the entire story since Hazel does not want to go out make friends, fall in love with Augustus Waters because of her being terminal. So it is obvious that people will think about this more deeply unlike a normal metaphor.
And when the people think of the metaphor deeply, the faults will be found. Which are revealed in my previous round argument. These faults directly results in the metaphor losing its effect, thus making it inadequate which as per my oppenent's defenition is NOT GOOD.
Almost all of the faults are not present in the alternative metaphors. Hence the alternative metaphors are adequate or as close to adequate as it gets but the grenade metaphor is inadequate to a significant percentage of the readers and hence not good in my opponent's view.
Let me revisit my argument: Metaphors are, by definition, not required to be literal. In fact, they are required to not be literal in order to qualify as metaphors (saying that bee is busy as a bee would be most literally correct, but would not, in context of the noun it is being attributed to, be a metaphor) In a conversation I had with a friend, a few days ago, my friend told me that he is a slave. His homework had been piling up and the number of hours he was obligated toward it had lengthened considerably. Is the slave metaphor a good metaphor? If I were to adopt my opponent's literal standards, of course not. A slave is compelled via the utmost degree of physical, mental and emotional coercion to do his work. My friend could skip his homework without being beaten or sold to another. A slave also does not gain personal immediate benefit from the task he/she does whereas my friend's completion of his homework assignment directly reflects upon his academic and, eventually, life career. Every metaphor has at least one aspect or another that doesn't correlate with the situation the metaphor describes. Let us look again at the 'busy as a bee' metaphor. It takes the industrious aspect of the bee, strips away all other characteristics, and applies it to a situation in which industriousness is present. When applied to something other than a bee, say, a person, I could easily say that since the bee facilitates much of his functions via flight and that his industriousness is driven by the chemical commands of a queen bee, a human, whose industriousness is very likely born of other causes, is not a good target toward which to attribute the 'busy as a bee' metaphor. That is ridiculous. Again, a metaphor is not meant to be literal. As long as an intended core element of the metaphor can be shown to be analogically applicable to a scenario, it is adequate as a metaphor; it is a good metaphor. Therefore, having shown the connection between the grenade metaphor and the character to which the metaphor was to be applied, I have secured the CON position. CON wins the debate. Q.E.D.
Now, I would like to address an insult thrown at me from my opponent's last round, specifically the one where my opponent implies that I, CON, am not a deep thinker in an attempt to negate my having found the grenade metaphor's adequacy. First, just because you don't agree with my understanding of the grenade metaphor, doesn't mean I am not a deep thinker. In fact, it is you who was (and still is, apparently) unable to draw the metaphor's meaning as I have. Second, it seems you have abandoned your tsunami metaphor (good, because it was pretty absurd) in favor of your volcano metaphor. Although the volcano metaphor is not the best (literally applied, it would mean Hazel would have an impact on an unimaginably immense section of the social network, completely wiping it to ashes and dust; Hazel's death only actually affects the few people she is or could be closely connected with), it is adequate because one element, the fact that it has an epicenter of pain, connects it to Hazel's situation. However, as I have already lighted upon during my previous round, the volcano metaphor, along with the tsunami metaphor, fails to emulate the situation to which the grenade metaphor attempts to analogize. This would be, as I've mentioned before, the detonation which, in a metaphorical sense, would be Hazel's death, and the subsequent radial expansion of pain with those closest to its reach feeling most pain and those furthest feeling less. It is in this way that the grenade metaphor supersedes the volcano metaphor; a volcanic explosion destroys all in its radius (Pompeii is a great example) with no degree of scaling (of course, I am not arguing that the volcano metaphor is not a good metaphor, only that the grenade metaphor is better).
PRO - Volcanoes have an epicenter too.
CON - PRO obviously skimmed my round 2 or he would have seen that my argument extends past the bit about th epicenter.
PRO - I do not believe that the grenade metaphor
CON - I have shown that the grenade metaphor is by definition, adequate. Regardless of what other people think, the grenade metaphor is good. Another response I'd like to make on this is that your point about many other people 'believing' the metaphor to be inadequate is moot. Does this population statistically supersede that of its opposition? If so, how is this significant toward your position? A large majority of people believe in higher beings (God, God(s)), but popular belief does not constitute existential evidence. The other subpoints you made to substantiate your position I have already responded to (b)literal application, I've already shown that metaphors, by definition, ignore literal applications, c) basically calling me someone who is not a deep thinker; patronizing the CON position doesn't support your case)
PRO - The whole point of a metaphor is to make a comparison between 2 objects so that people can make connections to understand the author's point better.
CON - I agree. To that end, I have quite literally (oh the irony) highlighted the point of connection. You have neither responded to or contradicted my point about the grenade's connection to Hazel's situation. You've instead opted to reiterating your points about the grenade containing certain aspects that cannot be literally applied to the Hazel predicament. I have already explained why this is irrelevant, and will not do so again.
PRO - The readers need to understand that connection to make the metaphor worthwhile. As proved above, the people who do not believe in a higher being and the deep thinking readers may not understand the metaphor as my opponent (and many of the people reading this) has understood it.
CON - Suppose I were to take a four year old who does not know the meaning of the word 'busy' nor the existence of bees. If I were to tell this four year old that a person is busy as a bee, it would, undeniably, fail to understand what I am saying. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that half the world shares the same quantity and quality of knowledge as this anecdotal four year old. Bees still exist. The metaphor 'busy as a bee', although not understood by a sizable number of people, still qualifies as a metaphor!! I will proceed to ignore the point about 'deep thinking'. The 'faults', as my opponent puts it, to the grenade metaphor are irrelevant (pretty much what I've been saying throughout the entire debate) in light of the definition of metaphors in general (all metaphors do not literally apply so, literally, all metaphors would have 'faults').
PRO's win condition was to show that the grenade metaphor was not good, but he has failed to do so. Moreover, CON has shown that the grenade metaphor is adequate (good) via the definition of the word metaphor. In fact, CON went one step further and has not only shown that the grenade metaphor is good, but that it is even superior in its point of connection to the metaphors PRO proposed. This is an overwhelming CON win. VOTES! :)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a pretty fuzzy resolution from the get-go. However, Pro's complaints about the metaphor fell quite flat as far as I'm concerned, and he seemed to have problems with the entire concept of metaphors. Arguments to Con. S&G, Sourcing, and Conduct seemed equal enough. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
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