Homework Help

In "The Vagabond" by Robert Louis Stevenson, find the metaphors and similes and explain...

user profile pic

kharsa | Student | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted November 3, 2009 at 11:30 PM via web

dislike 2 like

In "The Vagabond" by Robert Louis Stevenson, find the metaphors and similes and explain them.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 7, 2010 at 1:18 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

In "The Vagabond" by Robert Louis Stevenson there are a number of tropes, which are figures of speech that include metaphors and similes, but there are few metaphor or simile tropes. There are however unusual vocabulary words from a Scots dialect, like lave and blow, that might possibly be mistaken for metaphors if the definitions are unknown: Lave is defined as a flowing water as in a river, and blow is defined as a storm or a strong blast.

There are several instances of personification ("Give the face of earth") and a few metonymies (e.g., "blue finger" for frostbite), but there is only one simile and only one metaphor. A simile makes a comparison between two unlike things and uses the words as, like, such as or though to draw the comparison: e.g., love though thorns is sweet; candies such as god's ambrosia; clouds like trumpets; soft as goose's down. A metaphor likewise makes a comparison between two unlike things but omits any connecting word thus indicating only that one thing is another: e.g., light is bliss; dance is life; love is roses.

The one simile in "The Vagabond" is in "White as meal the frosty field." Here, white meal, or white flour, is compared to a field that is covered in frost: To the poetic speaker and the poet, the field covered in frost looks like it is sprinkled with white flour over it.
The one metaphor is in the next verse (i.e., line), "Warm the fireside haven." Here, the fireside is compared to a haven, which is a resting place, a sanctuary or a safe harbor.

Bear in mind the context of these tropes indicates that even though autumn may bring the bite of "blue fingers" with fields covered in frost, and even though the fireside is a warm sanctuary, the speaker will not yield to autumn nor even to winter ("Not to autumn will I yield, / Not to winter even!"); he will instead live with "the heaven above / And the road below me."

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes