The Simile Style Guide 3 JCho

A Simile, according to the silva rhetoricae website,  is “an explicit comparison, often (but not necessarily) employing ‘like’ or ‘as.’” (Burton, 2016). It is a rhetorical device that is utilized by many writers in order to fully express details of a story including but not limited to;  settings, characters, events, and situations. Rhetorical devices are never used without apparent reason and a lot of them are used to keep readers immersed in the content. A well crafted simile allows readers to have a better understanding of whatever the author is trying to present which is unclear without tangible, easily visualized comparisons.  Not only is the craftsmanship of a simile important, but also the placement of such similes is quite substantial in assessing the quality of them. In all of the storium projects, similes are used. Out of these storium stories, however, “The Violin” makes the best use of similes. This is a mystery story about vengeance, greed, and cold blooded murder. A good mystery story, to me, is one that has qualities that make visualizations of each scene easy and an unexpected yet clear and sensible resolution. Having the correct and crisp simile greatly increases the quality of writing. Jhin’s actions and thoughts are perfectly shown through the use of correct comparisons. In the first scene of “The Violin”, readers get to find out that Jhin kills his father and feel the emotions that Jhin felt after the murder. When a murderer commits a murder, no matter how it was committed, it tends to affect him/her in a shocking way. “But Jhin couldn’t move. He tried to move his legs or move his feet, but it was almost as if he were glued to the floor.” (The Violin, 2018) This quote successfully pictures how Jhin felt after the situation; scared, confused, and uneasy. His emotions are explained further later on, “ He stared at the blood covering every crevice of the floor like paint on a canvas, how it reflected back his own reflection.” (The Violin, 2018) Although this comparison does not seem to be logically connected in anyway, the fact that Jhin took the time to view his surroundings and reflected on it shows his uneasiness and fear towards his situation.

Because “The Violin” is set in a dystopian future,  some of the activities and actions made by the characters of the story can be hard to understand and hard to conjure up vivid images of. In scene two,  Arthur uses an invention of his own to investigate the scene of the crime. “ He pulled up his watch to his chest as if he was checking the time and with the press of a button a visor appeared in front of him as a 3D hologram. It materialized as he grabbed it and put it on.” (The Violin, 2018) Comparing the action of checking the time, something that we do everyday and know what the movements of such action are like, to how Arthur works his inventions gives readers a confusion-free description of the process of using such devices. In later parts of scene two, similes are utilized yet again, this time, to outline  how Arthur felt when he saw all the things that were happening in Jink’s family home, from the futuristic CSI cars to the weird and awful sounds that emanated from the house. “ He felt it as a bird feels the winter coming, spreading its wings to speed closer to the equator to survive.” (The Violin, 2018) “He felt it as a bird feels the winter coming” adds a subtle note of the detail oriented nature of Arthur. Birds understands when winter is coming and when to migrate by being wary of certain small changes to their surrounding environment. This is comparable to how Arthur acts and addresses issues that come up. When writing a story, one has to make sure that correct character development is in place for audience to stay interested in it. “ I stabbed your father with those pieces over and over again, carving his midsection like a roast turkey.” (The Violin, 2018) Said by Jhin, this develops Jhin’s manic personality and intentions for the murder while the quote, “A lot of thoughts and feelings rushed through her mind like speedy bullet trains.” visualizes Jink’s confused and lost mind after the abrupt and unexpected end of the relationship between Jink and Arthur. All these comparisons which seems a little to numerous when listed, is very useful when positioned correctly with the right comparison.


One thing that has to be accounted for when creating powerful and practical similes is the amount of inference that one has to make in order to make sense of a simile. As said before, rhetorical devices like the simile is used to make it more easy for the audience to understand what is going on in a story. It should not affect the the flow of the reader in any way. In scene one of  “Unexpected Love”, the main character, Dexter, is getting ready to go to prom last minute. “At the very last minute, he makes the decision to go out; he finishes up polishing his look and looking at himself in the mirror, making sure he looks as dashing as his level 83 pyromaster. “ (Unexpected Love, 2018). “ level 83 pyromaster”, using inference ,is probably a reference to some sort of video game character that Dexter plays with. This is a very large inference that one has to make in order to make sense of this comparison, which could just confuse the audience more about Dexter’s looks. This is ultimately a well founded approach but lacks enough supporting data to make it effective. This leads to my final point that audience awareness is crucial to creating similes. The audience should be able to grasp what the comparison is trying to set forth to the reader. That is only possible if comparisons are made with subjects that evoke empathy and/or  are straightforward. Understanding who is reading one’s writing helps one to add information that doesn’t merely fill the word limit but also adds more meaning to the story.


Making similes of the utmost quality is like art and when perfected, can be used in many different ways to “up one’s writing game”. Taking into account the many guidelines and rules to make such comparisons is hard but with practice is quite approachable. The simile is a rhetorical tool that can be overlooked as a mere filler. The proper usage, however, can yield many qualities that could possibly make a mundane story more interesting and worthwhile to read for the audience.


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