Early in the novel, Craig uses a loaded image to describe a family meal: "That's right. I'm going to eat. I slice off the top of the squash, in streets and avenues a big chunk, and put it on my fork and get it in my mouth" (44). Here, Craig uses an imaginative method to attempt to overcome his eating problems. However, later, the same images and comparisons—streets, avenues, and city geography generally—become central to Craig's growth as an artist, the creator of the brain maps.
Medical Apparatus (Similes and Metaphors)
Shortly after entering Argenon hospital, Craig observes the new devices that surround him and that, in some cases, are used to monitor his health. At one point, "a metal arm like a record needle is reading out my pulses"; soon after, Craig's tabs "hang off the cart like a tangle of roots as it rolls away" (174). Craig could be using these images to try to make sense of new and unusual surroundings. However, the randomness of the metaphors and similes applied to the medical implements may also be Vizzini's way of indicating that Craig is now in new, strange, and fundamentally disorienting circumstances.
The Outside World (Metaphor)
As his time in Six North wears on, Craig begins to feel a tension involving his new settings and the outside world: "Things are under control. But the dam will break. Even if I'm here just through Monday, the rumors will start flying, and the homework will pile up" (229). The image of a "dam" is a potent choice here. A dam is a sturdy structure, meant to maintain control, yet Craig is convinced that even his new routine--which can appear solid and reassuring at times--is fragile in ways that may be difficult to detect.
The Brain Maps (Similes and Metaphors)
Craig arrives at one of his central artistic devices, the brain maps, by thinking in terms of similes and metaphors: "A working brain is probably a lot like a map, where anybody can get from one place to another on the freeways. It's the nonworking brains that get blocked, that have dead ends, that are under construction like mine" (292). The map-to-brain comparison is not simply a turn of the imagination, either; rather, this analogy becomes a way for Craig to understand both his own thought processes and those of his fellow patients.
The Personalized Brain Maps (Metaphor)
Late in the novel, Craig finds unique ways to map out the brains of a few of his fellow patients. For instance, he draws the brains of the over-eager Armelio in the following manner: "Highways, that's what Armelio has in his head--six-lane highways running parallel, streaking through the city, with purpose and minimal on-ramps" (400). Craig uses other maps to represent the other, very different personalities of patients such as Johnny, Bobby, Humble, and Ebony. By doing so, he indicates that he has found an artistic method that, though based on a recurring metaphor or simile, is ripe with creative diversity and potential.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.