What is an example of a simile in Crevecoeur's "Letters from an American Farmer"?
In letter number one, Crevecoeur describes a conversation he had about the art of writing letters with the minister of his village, who encouraged him in his epistolary endeavors. Crevecoeur relates an allegory that this minister had conveyed to him, as a form of encouragement.
According the Crevecoeur, the minister told him, “I observed when I first entered into the ministry and began to preach the word, I felt perplexed and dry, my mind was like unto a parched soil, which produced nothing, not even weeds.”
The key phrase that comprises the simile here is, “my mind was like unto a parched soil.”
Here, Crevecoeur invites the reader to imagine that his mind, like drought-stricken farmland, was barren, and not capable of producing even the most careless of thoughts, or “weeds.” Yet through the process of study, Crevecoeur explains, the barren, infertile mind became fertile, and was able to produce a figurative harvest, which in this case, refers to the ability of the minister to write sermons.
A little further down in the first letter, Crevecoeur again invokes images of farming, specifically foreign-looking plants, to describe how alien the plain, utilitarian outfit of an American farmer would appear to a a scholar from the University of Cambridge in England. Those scholars, or “dons,” were accustomed to wearing formal gowns to signify their high social station.
“You will appear to him [the Cambridge scholar] something like one of our wild American plants, irregularly luxuriant in its various branches, which a European scholar may probably think ill placed and useless.” Again and again, Crevecoeur deploys similes and metaphors of farming to compare and contrast the conventions of the American Farmer with those of Europeans.