Are there any similes in "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the great writers of the twentieth century South, Truman Capote's style includes much beautiful prose.  In "A Christmas Memory" Capote writes a reminiscence, and, as such, it focuses on an experience, presenting the events and caracters as well as the special quality or meaning that keeps the memory alive.  To describe this special quality, the author often employs figurative language.

Two similes are in the second paragraph in which Capote describes his old friend, a woman with "shorn white hair" who stands at a window in the kitchen:

She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen...Her face is remarkable--not unlike Lincoln's, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind...

 Then, in the fifth paragraph, Capote writes of his old wicker baby buggy that they use for a shopping cart:

It is made of wicker, rather unraveled, and the sheels wobble like a drunkard's legs.

In order to make the fruitcake with whiskey, the two friends must find a bootlegger as the state laws forbid its sale at the time of Capotes' youth in the Deep South.  So, Mr. Haha Jones goes to the back of his cafe and procures some "home brew."  They pay him with "nickles and dimes and pennies."  Capote writes,

Suddenly, as he jangles the coins in his hand like a fistful of dice, his face softens.

After the two return to the kitchen,

The black stove, stoked with coal and firewood, glows like a lighted pumpkin.

While they prepare the fruitcake, Capote and his cousin drink some of the whisky, becoming silly afterwards.  As Capote dances, the rat terrier, Queenie, rolls over

her paw plow the air, something like a grin stretches her black lips.  Inside myself, I feel warm and sparky as those crumbling logs, carefree as the wind in the chimney.  My friend waltzes round the stove, the hem of her poor calico skirt pinched between her fingers as though it were a party dress...

When other relatives enter and scold the woman for allowing Capote to drink whiskey, she runs to her room; there

she is weeping into a pillow already as wet as a widow's handkerchief.

Because these figures of speech enhance the descriptions, creating vivid pictures in the minds of the reader, Capote's "A Christmas Memory" is replete with simile.  There are many more to be found as these are only from the first half of the work.

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