Salman Rushdie

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What metaphors and personifications are in Salman Rushdie's "In the South"?

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There are actually some really interesting metaphors in the very first sentence of this story. The narrator describes the "explosion of heat rippling the air," comparing the extremely high temperature to something like a bomb, something that explodes. Further, he describes the "trumpeting sunlight," comparing the significant strength of the sun to the loud sounds that come from a trumpet, a musical instrument. Finally, he describes the "traffic's tidal surges," comparing the traffic to the ocean with its high and low tides. Farther down in the first paragraph, the narrator also describes the sun as "stabbing at [Junior and Senior] through their window blinds," comparing the rays of the sun to daggers that could stab and hurt someone. Yet another metaphor compares the "rhythmic dialogues" of musicians with one another to "duels." Senior later thinks of his family as "a family of mosquitoes ... a buzzing swarm," hardly a flattering metaphor!

Later, Junior thinks about the man who cashes pension checks for him and Senior each week. He tells the young man that he will one day stand in the old men's shoes and understand how they feel. Junior revels, at least, in the knowledge that he can say whatever he wants to the younger man because the young man would be too intimidated or apathetic to respond. Junior "understood the nature of the contempt in the eyes of the post-office employee. It was the scorn of life for death." In this description, life is given the human ability to feel scorn for death. This is an example, then, of personification. Later, Senior personifies his and Junior's shadows, saying that "the shadows see each other and know who they are," giving shadows the human ability to see and think. Senior also thinks of the waves as "Death itself," and he thinks "Death had come to his city, had come a-harvesting," personifying death itself.

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