Simile (Latin simile "like") is a stylistic device that draws a comparison between two different objects belonging to dissimilar classes yet having something in common. The comparison is made explicit by using some special markers, which makes simile different from metaphor, where affinity is implicit. Simile emphasizes likeness while metaphor may assert or suggest identity. Compare these examples from a Ray Bradbury stoiy:
• The pilot lifted his head, which signaled the lift of the helicopter to swivel and rush away. The white cliffs of Dover vanished. They broke over green meadows so wove back and forth, a giant dragonfly excursioning the stuffs of winter that sleeted their blades.
• And a billion monarch butterflies in June rising up like celebrations tossed on parades to the sea.
What do these two comparisons differ in? What signal indicates simile?
Hence, the general formula for the simile includes the tenor, the vehicle, as well as the element expressing the comparative juxtaposition of the two: Xis like Y. That means that the simile is both lexical and syntactical stylistic device, as a definite structure is involved. Like is just one of the words possible to invoke a simile. Here are a few of the possibilities:
X is like у
X is more/less than у
X is similar to у
X is the same as у
X resembles у
X is y-like/looking
X is not like у
as if X were у
as though X were у
X is у like z
X has a quality of у
X is as y as z
X is less у than z
X does y: so does z
X is more у than z
But a simile can sometimes be implied, or as it is often called, submerged. In such cases no comparative word is needed. Besides, as well as metaphors, similes can be extended. Study the example to follow:
When I think of the English final exam, I think of dungeons and chains and racks and primal screams.
The following examples of simile identifying the tenor, vehicle, and ground for comparison as well as the linking word.
2) The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea. (Wilde)
3) With the quickness of a long cat. she climbed up into the nest of coolbladed foliage. (Lawrence)
4) He reminded James, as he said afterwards, of a hungry cat. (Galsworthy)
5) Huddled in her grey fiir against the sofa cushions, she had a strange resemblance to a captive owl. (Galsworthy)
6) Mr. Witters method of paying off debts would be a form of feeding a dog with bits of its own tail. (Nesfield)
7) It was as though an iron fist had clenched suddenly around Harry's heart. (J.
8) Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel - Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig. (J. K. Rowling)
9) It was a glorious morning, late spring or early summer, as you care to take it. when the dainty sheen of grass and leaf is blushing to a deeper green: and the year seems like a fair young maid trembling with strange, wakening pulses on the brink of womanhood. (Jerome K. Jerome)
10) He is as beautiful as a weather-cock. (Wilde)
11) A little after midnight Dolores Lane came in and stood holding a microphone the way a drowning man hangs on to a lifebelt. (Chase)
12) They eased me through a door as if I were a millionaire invalid with four days to live, and who hadn't as yet paid his doctor's bill. (Chase)
Blow. blow, thou winter wind. Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude.
The seas are quiet when the winds give o're:
So calm are we when passions are no more. (Waller)
It was that moment of the year when the countryside seems to faint from its own loveliness, from the intoxication of its scents and sounds.