The Face in the Mirror

by Robert Graves

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What are the similes, metaphors and personification in "The Face in the Mirror" by Robert Graves?

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To begin, one must be able to define a term in order to identify it. A simile is a comparison between two typically unlike things. This comparison is made using the words "like" or "as." A metaphor is similar to a simile with the exception it does not use the words "like" or "as." Personification is the giving of nonhuman/nonliving things the abilities and characteristics of humans. 

Robert Graves' poem "The Face in the Mirror" exists as an extended metaphor. The face in the mirror the speaker is describing is actually the speaker's "inner face." The injuries to the exterior have scarred the inside of the speaker as well. One simile exists in lines four and five: "Because of a missile fragment still inhering, / Skin-deep, as a foolish record of old-world fighting." Here, the missile fragment is compared a fight record (being that the record is still around like the fragment in the speaker's skin). 

One could identify the reflection which "needs my attention" as personification. Since the reflection is inanimate and not human, it would not need attention in an emotional way. Therefore, since the reflection needs attention, and not the speaker himself, one could identify this as personification. 

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