What are some examples of metaphor in Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen?

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In Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen, the protagonist, Cole Matthews, attacks fellow teenager Peter Driscal. In order to avoid jail time, Cole enters a Native American justice program called Circle Justice, where he spends a year in the wilderness.

Mikaelsen uses metaphors throughout the narrative to enhance the reading experience.

For instance, Cole describes his parents using a metaphor.

On his left stood a liar who had beat him numb, and on his right stood a dressed-up puppet, afraid of her own shadow.

Metaphors compare two objects that are not similar. Cole’s mother, of course, is a living human, but this metaphor explains Cole’s perspective that his mother blindly follows Cole’s father.

Later in the narrative, this metaphor is reinforced when Cole is instructed to hold his parents’ hands.

His hands were clammy, and he found himself comparing his mother's frightened, weak squeeze to his father's iron-hard grip.

Cole’s father does not actually have an iron-hard grip, but the metaphor helps showcase the difference between Cole’s parents and the perception Cole has of his father. "Iron-hard grip" shows the reader that Cole associates his father’s grip with metal, not flesh. The metaphor of the iron positions Cole’s father as a cold man, capable of feats of strength which have previously manifested in violence.

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