Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, you are using figurative language. Any language that goes beyond the literal meaning of words in order to furnish new effects or fresh insights into an idea or a subject.
SYMBOLISM is the applied use of symbols (objects, images or other concrete representations of ideas or concepts).
View this clip from Pink Floyd entitled "Goodbye Blue Sky;" Note the director's and artist's use of symbolism, metaphor and imagery to help the reader comprehend theme. In fact, if you piece together the visual symbols without listening to the lyrics, you should be able to determine the theme of the song. Try it - turn down the volume and guess the theme.