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Written by Helen Smith
Explosion within Mind
The difficult scenes of partition's violence are enhanced by a moment of metaphor which Sidhwa presents. In this, the explosion occurs within a head, pounding the mind and eyes. The mental experience of the danger is so external that the metaphor shows the extent to which partition destroys lives and livelihoods, creating fear in the minds of those, especially the young, who witness it.
Person as Dust
The novel includes the theme of dust, as people often are dusty from being outdoors or on paths. When the Ice-candy-man says he is less than dust, the metaphor hits hard to the reader's experience and compounds with the other sensory description of his desperation to give a sense of the Ice-candy-man as first the ground beneath someone's dirty feet and then as less than that.
Metaphor of a Poodle
Lenny, upon command, walks for his mother to show his new health for Dr. Selzer. She compares herself to a poodle, and this simile shows not only how he feels to be paraded but also how she naturally compares himself to Eastern European frames of reference. This simile also shows the personality of Lenny and how she thinks of herself as other things to act out her place in the world.
Learning as Pump
Rosy, an individual who is full of herself due to knowledge, receives it as though through a pump. This metaphor shows how she balloons with her new sense of pride, even though her information is faulty and causes her to be at risk of blowing out. The conventional metaphor of "hot air" for unnecessary verbosity provides the opportunity for this metaphor, which shows how Rosy obtains her information from her older sister.
Throughout the novel, Ice-candy-man grows older and stiffer. Lenny's way of describing him is as a cat, and she notices after the fact every time he seems less fluid when he moves. This builds up to his final appearance in the novel, and she wonders at the fact of his change after the fact. Her comparison to him as cat happens in hindsight and relates to his weight. She notices his increased clout, but she shows how he used to be using metaphor.
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