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Metaphors, similes, and irony occur often in George Orwell's novel 1984, but in one sentence early in the first chapter, all three of these techniques occur together. The sentence, actually a sentence fragment, poses a question about Winston Smith's unattractive surroundings:
And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the willow herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where the bombs had cleared a larger path and there had sprung up sordid colonies of wooden dwellings like chicken houses?
In this sentence, the phrase "sordid colonies" is a metaphor since it compares the dwellings to colonies without using the words "like" or "as."
A simile appears in the phrase "dwellings like chicken houses."
An example of irony appears when the narrator reports that "bombs had cleared a larger path." Bombs, usually considered and intended to be destructive, have in this case ironically proved helpful in making space for new construction.
This passage also repeats a motif that has already been well established in the novel by this point: the statement that "plaster dust swirled in the air" is just the latest of several references so far to swirling grime, dirt, or dust, suggesting that the world of the novel is unclean in more ways than one.
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