How can I locate the similes in Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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A simile is a literary device that compares one thing to another using "like" or "as." An example would be "her eyes are blue like the ocean." This is much like a metaphor, but the difference between a metaphor and a simile is that a simile is not stated as if the two things being compared are actually the same thing. An example of a metaphor would be "her eyes were the blue ocean." Logically, a reader would know that the girl's eyes were not the ocean, but because it is a metaphor, it is stated as if the two are equivalent.

A simile can usually be found by looking for 'like,' 'as,' or another comparison word. The steps to find the similes in "The Tell-Tale Heart" would be as follows:

1. Read the story over once.

2. Scrutinize the descriptive portions for comparative sentences

3. Determine whether or not the comparison sentences are metaphors or similes based on whether it uses a comparison word.

One example of a simile in "The Tell-Tale Heart" is:

His room was as black as pitch.

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A high school assignment asking you to find and critically analyze similes in a story is intended to help you learn to read stories closely, to appreciate how stylistic devices enhance the effects stories have, and to learn how to identify common figures of speech.

Simile and metaphor are both figures of thought, which work by means of comparing one thing to another or describing one (usually unfamiliar) thing in terms of another (usually more familiar) thing. In the case of the similie, the comparison is explicit, using terms such as "like" or "as" and in the case of metaphor, the comparison is implicit (e.g. Donne's "Ride ... till age snow white hairs on thee"). A special type of simile, the "epic simile" is characterized by being longer than most types of simile and metaphor.

As you read through the story, look at explicit comparison (every time you see "like" or "as" look closely). Think especially about the phrase "vulture eye" and the way the narrator percieves the eye.

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