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What does this simile mean? "The facts closed in on him like prison-warders handcuffing...

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backtobasics06 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 16, 2009 at 6:16 AM via web

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What does this simile mean? "The facts closed in on him like prison-warders handcuffing a convict. There was no way out...."

I'm terrible at explaining figurative language. I always feel like I know what i'm trying to say but it never comes out right.

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cjobst | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 16, 2009 at 6:24 AM (Answer #1)

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The trick to understanding the simile or metaphor is to visualize it. Place yourself in the convicts shoes for instance. Imagine yourself surrounded by prison wardens, say four to gain a good understanding, and they are all trying to handcuff you. The prison wardens are overpowering and may make you feel suffocated or trapped. Then compare that to facts overwhelming someone as if they were huge wardens with handcuffs, trying to trap you. Get the idea? The handcuffs symbolize constraints on the prisoner as the facts do on the main character. Remember: a simile is a comparison of two unlike things using the words "like" or "as".

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rshaffer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted February 16, 2009 at 6:28 AM (Answer #2)

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This simile is saying that the person felt trapped by the facts and could not ignore them because there was no way around them, much like a convict feels trapped when he is cuffed and can't get away.  This simile works because it tells us that there is no escaping the truth (facts) just like a convict cannot escape his truth (handcuffs).

Hope this helps!

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