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Could you please explain the following metaphor extracted from the first chapter...

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coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:13 PM via web

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Could you please explain the following metaphor extracted from the first chapter of The Great Gatsby? Does "as" have just a temporal sense in this sentence?

"The wind had blown off, leaving a loud bright night with wings beating in the trees and a persistent organ sound as the full bellows of the earth blew the frogs full of life."

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:22 PM (Answer #1)

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The word "as" is a comparison word usually associated with similes. Authors use similes to draw connections between to unlike thoughts, ideas, or objects in order to make a point or to solidify a message. In order to understand a simile, first that into account the two or more images being compared to each other. In this passage, there seems to be many images to consider. The image mentioned before the word "as" is "a persistent organ sound." At next glance, one might look to "the full bellows" as the comparison image. But in this case, the whole sequence of the sentence needs to be considered. First, the wind blows away, or stops. The result from the wind blowing was that a "loud bright night" followed. That "loud" noise sounds like "wings beating in the trees" as well as the sound of a persistent organ. At this point, one might think of the sounds of fluttering leaves high above one's head in the sky along with a deep, low sound of an organ accompanying it.  The organ sound in this passage continues "as" or at the same time that the "bellows of the earth" awaken frogs to life. So, rather than the word "as" connecting images in a simile, the word connects images that coexist at the moment the wind dies down. The image here is for the reader to get an idea of the sounds that are left behind when the wind dies down.


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