What is one metaphor is the first chapter of The Nickel Boys?

Several metaphors or similes are used in the first chapter of The Nickel Boys, one of which compares listening to Martin Luther King's speeches to watching television.

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Several metaphors (similes, actually) are used in the first chapter, each of which serve to show Elwood as sensitive, imaginative, and a bit naïve.

For example, at the beginning of the chapter, the record Elwood has of Martin Luther King's speeches is said to be as good as a television,...

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Several metaphors (similes, actually) are used in the first chapter, each of which serve to show Elwood as sensitive, imaginative, and a bit naïve.

For example, at the beginning of the chapter, the record Elwood has of Martin Luther King's speeches is said to be as good as a television, suggesting that hearing King speak was as absorbing for him as watching TV. Elwood experiences great imaginative engagement with the recording, to the point of feeling "like a member of the King family."

Another example is how the staff resented his hanging around the kitchen "like a damn puppy" while they were hard at work and how they would take advantage of his willingness to engage in "plate drying races" to trick him into doing their work for him. This deception culminates in the race Elwood has with Pete for possession of a set of encyclopedias left behind by a white guest at the hotel. Pete beats Elwood but lets him have the books anyway, which Elwood later discovers are simply dummies, full of blank pages.

While not strictly a metaphor, this episode does connect to Elwood's fascination with the Fun Town amusement park King mentions in his speeches. Like the park, which is off limits to Black children, the promise of knowledge the encyclopedias hold is also a ruse, a kind of empty promise. Elwood realizes that Pete probably knew the books were useless, and this experience teaches him a bitter lesson.

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