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The west side of the house is burnt black except for five white spots. One of these spots is the silhouette of a woman bending to pick flowers "as in a photograph." Similes most often use "like" or "as" in comparing two things. Here, the silhouette of the woman on the side of the house is compared to a photograph. The suggestion is that the mother had been out picking flowers when the nuclear blast occurred. The only thing that remains is her silhouette/photograph on the house.
During children's hour, the nursery comes alive with films on the walls and robotic animals moving about the room. "There was the sound like a great matted yellow hive of bees within a dark bellows, the lazy bumble of a purring lion." The sound of the robots and films are compared to living things. This is to show how "alive" the house is. The irony is that the technology that led to a house that seems alive is also the technology that led to the nuclear capability to destroy all real living things.
"The dinner dishes manipulated like magic tricks, and in the study a click." The dishes are being prepared for dinner as if a magician is manipulating them. This is the magic of the self-sufficient house.
When the house is on fire, the heat breaks the mirrors "like the brittle winter ice." The voices of the house yell fire "like children dying in a forest." Again, the voices are compared to actual living voices which have long since been silenced.
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