What is an example of metonymy used by Burgess in Smack?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An example of metonymy is when Gemma says that Tar’s dad “hits the bottle,” meaning he is an alcoholic.

Metonymy is a figure of speech where a part of something is used to describe the something.  For example, “smack” can be used to describe the use of heroin.  The “bottle” is used to describe someone who drinks alcohol, which comes from a bottle.

 “He hits the bottle,” I told him.  “Go round and see him next time.  You’ll smell it.  That’s the sort of influence we young people have to look up to,” I said. (Gemma, p. 10)

When Gemma comes home and her parents tell her that Tar’s father is going to be angry at him, she says he beat Tar up already.  Her parents seem to think that Tar’s dad is a good person because he is a teacher.  She wants to prove them wrong, so she tells them that Tar’s father is an alcoholic. 


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