The following sentence actually employs three different kinds of figurative language:
The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grapefruits in her hip pockets; the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in a wind like a plume; then her pugnacious breasts trying to bore holes in her shirt.
A simile is a figure of speech in which a person compares one thing to another using the word like or as. In the quotation above, the woman's buttocks are compared to grapefruits, using a simile, in order to emphasize how round and firm they look to the men. (We learn, later, that this woman's name is Janie Starks.)
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a person compares one thing to another by simply saying that one thing is another; a metaphor does not use like or as. When the narrator describes the woman's great rope of black hair , the narrator compares a large braid of hair to a rope, emphasizing its thickness and strength in appearance. Then, the narrator says that the wind unravels...
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