How does the use of similes characterize Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451?
The similes and metaphors that Montag uses to describe Clarisse demonstrate his fascination an infatuation with her.
When Montag first describes Clarisse, the leaves on the sidewalk make “the girl who was moving there seem fixed to a sliding walk” (part 1). Montag is instantly fascinated by the girl, and he introduces himself and then walks with her.
There was only the girl walking with him now, her face bright as snow in the moonlight… (part 1)
Her face is described as “milk-white” at first, and is now compared to snow. She is a thing of innocence and beauty, compared to Montag’s feelings about himself.
Montag seems to see himself “suspended in two shining drops of bright water” in her eyes, which are “two miraculous bits of violet amber that might capture and hold him intact” (part 1).
Montag compares the light Clarisse gives to a candle. This is significant because candles do not exist anymore. They are technology from a forgotten age, as Clarisse seems to be.
Clarisse speaks with Montag only briefly, but she leaves a lasting impression.
She had a very thin face like the dial of a small clock seen faintly in a dark room in the middle of a night … (part 1)
Like the clock, Clarisse is gone like “all certainty and knowing what it has to tell of the night passing swiftly on toward further darknesses” (part 1). She is like a vision from a half-waking state.
These fleeting, figurative descriptions of Clarisse demonstrate his inability to understand her, and the impact she has had on his life. Montag does not know it yet, but this one brief encounter will make him question his entire life.