The breakfast stove churns out a lovely breakfast for the people who are no longer there, and a while later, it disposes of the food, which has been left uneaten. The narrator says that "hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away," and the...
The breakfast stove churns out a lovely breakfast for the people who are no longer there, and a while later, it disposes of the food, which has been left uneaten. The narrator says that "hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away," and the dishes are dropped into the washer. The pipes in the sink, perhaps a garbage disposal, are compared, via metaphor, to a metal throat. With the inhabitants of the house gone, no longer able to swallow down their breakfast, the house's metaphorical throat replaces their own.
Later, the house itself is compared to an old unmarried woman as a result of its "mechanical paranoia," the way it responds to various critters that have approached it since its humans were, evidently, vaporized. The narrator describes the house's "old-maidenly preoccupation with self-protection" in this way. Further, after the old family dog returns to the home, emaciated and decrepit now, the house begins to make pancakes, torturing the poor beast with the delicious scent. The dog, we are told, begins to froth at the mouth, and "its eyes turned to fire." The animal runs around in circles, biting itself, and finally dies in the parlor. The dog's eyes are metaphorically described as turning to fire, perhaps because the animal's longing for the food the house produces is so strong that it seems to consume his entire being.
Next, the clean-up mice that come out of the walls are referred to as "regiments," comparing them to the military, probably because they are so well-ordered and efficient and single-minded in their maintenance of the home. Still later, the attic of the house is compared via metaphor to a "brain," as the machinery that keeps the house functioning seems to be housed there. As a result of this fire, the house shudders, "oak bone on bone," its beams and rafters compared to the bones that make up a human skeleton.