A simile is a figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared using the words like or as. This is not to be confused with a metaphor, which also compares two unlike things but does so without the use of like or as. Similes and metaphors accomplish the same goals, but they differ in how they do so. For example, "His heart is like gold" compares someone's heart to gold with the use of the word like; therefore, it is an example of a simile. If the same comparison between a heart and gold is made without the use of like or as, it would be an example of a metaphor: "His heart is gold."
Similes are used often in Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. Here are some examples of similes from the first part of the book, entitled "The Hearth and the Salamander":
Bradbury uses a simile to describe Clarisse's face: "She had a very thin face like the dial of a small clock" (12). He compares the girl's face to the dial of a clock. Soon after, he describes her using a simile again, this time comparing her face to a mirror: "How like a mirror, too, her face" (13). He compares her face to a mirror to communicate her face's ability to reflect the feelings and emotions of those who look upon it.
Bradbury uses a simile to describe Montag's facial expression:
He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over, and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out (14).
He compares Montag's fading smile to the melting wax of a candle that has been left burning for too long. A simile is used again to describe Montag: "He wore his happiness like a mask..." (14). Montag's false happiness is compared to a mask, emphasizing that he is pretending to be something he is not.
Bradbury uses a simile to describe Montag's entry into his bedroom: "It was like coming into the cold marbled room of a mausoleum after the moon had set" (14). The bedroom is comparable to a mausoleum because of how cold, dark, and dreary it is and also because of the feelings of dread it evokes. Montag is filled with dread upon opening the door to his bedroom, as one would be upon entering a mausoleum.
Bradbury uses a simile to describe Mildred's appearance just before Montag discovers that she has overdosed: "Her face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall" (16). Bradbury compares Mildred's face to a snowy island, illustrating how cold and distant she is.