making our mothers, our grandmothers as angry as starving dogs (Simile)
This simile is used by Elena to describe an older generation of women in the neighborhood. The simile compares them to animals, suggesting an aggressive, instinctual approach to life. By comparing these women to animals, Elena also hints at the fact that they were not educated or informed, and therefore remained irrational and bestial. A similar implication about the lack of opportunity is created by the adjective; "starving" suggests a life of hardship and poverty, and just as starving dogs will become vicious, the underprivileged lives of this generation made them cruel and violent.
His violent flesh entered her with a sharp blow, like the cork pushed by the palm into the neck of a wine bottle (Simile)
This simile is used by Elena as she imagines Stefano and Lila having sex on their wedding night. The simile suggests violence and aggression, rather than passion or tenderness, revealing Elena's fears and mistrust of Stefano. It also suggests that Stefano will use Lila for his own satisfaction rather than attempting to give her pleasure; the act of opening a wine bottle is focused on obtaining what one wants.
Something had begun to emanate from Lila's body that the males sensed, an energy that dazed them, like the swelling sound of beauty arriving (Simile)
This simile is used to describe the effect that Lila's maturity has on the men around her. The simile combines auditory and visual effects. The comparison of a "swelling sound" uses alliteration to heighten the effect of Lila's gradually emerging beauty being so powerful and seductive that it can almost be heard. At the same time, "beauty arriving" would usually be signaled through seeing rather than hearing. The simile thus communicates that the effect of Lila's presence results in complete sensory immersion and a sense of being overwhelmed.
I went out into the heat that lay on the neighborhood like a hand swollen with fever (Simile)
This simile expresses the oppressive and diseased nature of the neighborhood. The summer heat is compared not to something pleasurable, but rather to a body part deformed by illness. This suggests that the neighborhood is not a place where anything life-giving or inspiring can happen; it rather ruins and leads to the decay of everything trapped inside.
The waves rolled in like blue metal tubes carrying an egg white of foam on their peaks (Simile)
This simile describes Elena's view of the sea on the day that her father takes her on an outing before she begins high school. The lyrical and fanciful imagery shows how Elena is highly imaginative and interested in finding unique ways to describe things. It also reveals that she has always lived in urban spaces and has had little exposure to the natural world, since she compares the ocean waves to metal tubes.
My Brilliant Friend Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for My Brilliant Friend is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.