Metaphor in To a Steam Roller

Metaphor Examples in To a Steam Roller :

To a Steam Roller 4

"conformity..."   (To a Steam Roller)

The steamroller in this poem is often viewed as a stand-in for the literary critic, the reader who seeks to organize a text into a broad abstraction rather than experience a direct encounter with it. Moore’s speaker then stands in for the artist, the person who cherishes detail over abstraction, “particles” over “conformity.”

"on them..."   (To a Steam Roller)

Moore’s central metaphor is that of the steamroller. Just as a steamroller flattens all the unique “particles” of concrete down into a smooth surface, the clumsy thinker or critic flattens the complexities of the world down into broad, abstract ideas.

"Sparkling chips..."   (To a Steam Roller)

The noun phrase “sparkling chips” is a metaphor for that which is unique, such as people, ideas, art, etc. The steamroller wants to crush all of these unique elements into one “parent block.” The “parent block” can be interpreted as a standard through which all unique elements are judged. In other words, the steamroller believes that it can create one standard that will apply to all things, rather than viewing each “sparkling chip” as a unique individual that cannot be reduced to a uniform pattern.

"walk back and forth..."   (To a Steam Roller)

The image of the steamroller walking back and forth on the particles it has forced into conformity represents the limited knowledge offered by its worldview. Its theoretical or application-based approach to the world claims to create “understanding.” However, this understanding actually narrows the world into a single path that the steamroller is then forced to pace, which confines rather than expands.