abstract illustration of a person standing with a large nautilus superimposed upon its body

The Chambered Nautilus

by Oliver Wendell Holmes

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What metaphor is used to describe the nautilus in line 1?

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In the first line Holmes uses the metaphor "ship of pearl" to describe the chambered nautilus. He's referring to the smooth shell of the nautilus, the "precious" quality, and how it grows (somewhat as a pearl grows).

Greg

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