Five Feet Apart

by Rachael Lippincott

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What types of figurative language are in Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott?

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There are many types of figurative language in Five Feet Apart, including imagery, metaphor, and onomatopoeia. The author uses vivid imagery to help her readers visualize the scenes. For example, phrases like “his eyes are a deep blue” and he smiled “in the glow of the candlelight” almost transport the reader into the book. Such descriptions provide sensory experiences so that the reader can almost see, hear, and smell what the characters do.

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Five Feet Apart is full of figurative language. The author uses elements like imagery, metaphor, and onomatopoeia to transport the reader into her story.

The imagery that Lippincott uses throughout the text gives the reader a sensory experience. The reader can visualize certain scenes so clearly that it is almost as if the reader is in the room. For example, consider when Stella sees Will early on. She describes his physical appearance in great detail, making observations like,

His eyes are a deep blue, the corners crinkling as he talks.

The detailed descriptions like “deep blue” here gives the reader an in-depth understanding of what Will looks like.

Another example of the vivid imagery in this text is when Stella describes her friend Poe bringing out the pie that he made:

Poe carefully carries out his beautifully made pie with a sea of candles sitting on top of it and we all start to sing. I watch Will smiling in the glow of the candlelight ...

Here the reader can visualize the sights and sounds of this experience. Phrases like “the glow of the candlelight” tell the reader precisely what the lighting of the scene looks like. It also helps the reader understand the emotional intensity of this experience. In addition Lippincott uses metaphor here when she compares the candles to a sea. This tells the reader that there are many candles on the pie. It also helps highlight the amount of love and care that exists between the people in this scene.

Lippincott also uses onomatopoeia several times throughout the book. An onomatopoeia is when a word imitates a particular sound. For example, in chapter 1 Stella notes the “steady hiss” of her oxygen. The onomatopoeia “hiss” allows the reader to hear what the sound is like.

Overall, figurative language and sensory descriptions in this text help the reader develop a more in-depth understanding of what the characters' experiences are like.

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Figurative language is one of the things I love most about the English language, and Rachael Lippincott's great novel is full of it.

There is a great variety of types of figurative language, and one of my favorites is alliteration. This is where words are intentionally chosen for the fact that they start with the same letter, thereby creating emphasis with a repetitive sound. Here are two examples from the book:

"All of us together, happy and healthy." This quote is from Stella, and it refers to herself, her parents, and her sister Abby all being together. Happiness and health have been in short supply for this family, and the alliteration here emphasizes the importance of the memory.

A second example comes later, when Stella tells Will that she wants to be "fearless and free." Will and Stella's lives are dominated by their disease, and fearlessness and freedom are things that neither of them have known. The repetition of this "f" sound once again provides meaningful emphasis.

Another type of figurative language that I adore is hyperbole, which basically means meaningful exaggeration. When Stella's friends, Camila and Mya, arrive to visit her before leaving on their class trip to Cabo, Stella makes the comment that her friends had visited her in the hospital "a million times" over the years. This is obviously not true, but the phrase makes it abundantly clear that she has good friends who visit her often.

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Among the types of figurative language that Rachael Lippincott uses are similes and metaphors. A simile is a comparison between two unlike things for effect that uses “like” or “as.” A metaphor is a director comparison between unlike things for effect that does not uses those words. Stella is a creative girl who makes frequent uses of these literary devices.

One simile that she offers is a comparison involves the way Stella displays her hospital breakfast to her friend and fellow patient, Poe, saying, “[I] hold up my tray like a game-show model.”

One metaphor that appears in the dialogue is a common one in everyday speech. Barb, a nurse who attends Stella, speaks to her about the dangers of contracting an infection; she compares the likely negative impact on her transplant chances to a goodbye kiss. She says, “You contract that and you can kiss the possibility of contracting new lungs goodbye.”

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We meet Stella in the hospital, checking off items on her to-do list. She has decorated her room with her sister's artwork,

bits of color and life jumping out from clinical white walls, each one a product of a different trip to the hospital.

The artwork is personified, using the verb jump to describe how the pieces stand out against the hospital walls. The dreariness of the room without the artwork is highlighted by the alliteration in "white walls." The pieces also represent the many hospital stays Stella has had.

Although we switch to Will's perspective in the next chapter, there is still plenty of figurative language. Will watches Stella move through the hospital,

waving and chatting to just about everyone as she goes, like she's putting on her personal Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This simile is in Will's voice, as he seems to judge her for her friendliness. We don't have the same judgment after reading from Stella's perspective.

The dual perspective allows the author to develop two voices, and there are many opportunities for figurative language in what the teens say and what they think.

I’m tired of living without really living. I’m tired of wanting things. We can’t have a lot of things. But we could have this.

This quote is made up of repetition: I'm tired, living, and things are all repeated. The repetition emphasizes what it's like to be living with a disease. This also highlights a major theme of the book.

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