What metaphors does Paine use to persuade his readers to support the revolutionary war?

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boxergrad15 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My favorite metaphor from Paine's The Crisis is his reference to Joan of Arc. It reads:

All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen and save her fair fellow-sufferers from ravage and ravishment!

In this metaphor, Paine is begging for a savior figure to rise from the common people of the colonies, similar to how Joan of Arc rose from the peasant class of France to become a general and war hero. Just as she was able to inspire and lead the people, Paine is hoping for inspiration and leadership among the colonists in order to fight against King George III of Britain.

Another passage from The Crisis that directly follows the Joan of Arc line is as follows:

Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.

The metaphor is to say that panics are the wellspring of sincerity and hypocrisy, which is so much to say that panic spurs action. Paine wants action, wants to begin in earnest the opposition to England, so although he is critical of European countries for being too hasty to panic and create conflict, he feels as though his fellow colonists are lacking in their will to fight against oppression.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his article of December 23, 1776, Paine refers to the "summer soldier" and the "sunshine patriot."  The term "summer soldier" is one still heard today.  Both of these are metaphors akin to our use of "fair weather friend." Summer and sunshine are metaphors for the idea that it is easy to be  a soldier when things are going well, but this kind of soldier "shrinks" from serving his country when the going gets rough.  There is, of course, a perfectly good literal basis for this metaphor, since it is far easier to be a soldier when the weather is warm.  You do not have to worry about slogging through ice and snow or whether your shoes have holes in them. 

Here is an extended metaphor Paine uses in his article of January 13, 1777:

It is surprising to what a pitch of infatuation, blind folly and obstinacy will carry mankind, and your lordship's drowsy proclamation is a proof that it does not even quit them in their sleep. Perhaps you thought America too was taking a nap, and therefore chose, like Satan to Eve, to whisper the delusion softly, lest you should awaken her. This continent, sir, is too extensive to sleep all at once, and too watchful, even in its slumbers, not to startle at the unhallowed foot of an invader.

This is a metaphor and a form of personification.  Picture England and the colonies as people.  England has been sleeping, Paine says, and it should not make the mistake of believing the colonies have been sleeping, too.  England has taken a stand against the colonies that suggests it thinks the colonies will do nothing in their defence. It has "whispered" its stand, so the colonies will not wake up and do something.  While this rhetoric is addressed to England, it is also meant to arouse the colonists, who do not wish to be thought of as sleeping.   

There are many other metaphors in the collected articles.  Perhaps you can find some, too.  Good luck!