Paradise Metaphors and Similes

“The sign of racial purity they had taken for granted had become a stain” (Narrator, 194) (Metaphor)

This is a metaphor because racial purity is not literally a "stain," but people in the community feel that it is something that marks them out visibly as unclean or undesirable.

“The wind soughed as though trying to dislodge sequins from the black crepe sky” (Narrator, 190) (Metaphor)

The sky is described here with a metaphor evoking fabric and materials. The wind soughs - that is, blows - in such a way that it seems to be attempting to blow the stars out of the sky. The stars are imagined as sequins on black crepe material, as if the sky were an item of clothing.

“They seemed like birds, hawks, to Sweetie. Pecking at her, flapping.” (Narrator, 129) (Simile and metaphor)

This is an example of both a simile and a metaphor. To the dazed Sweetie, the Convent women seem like birds, notably here hawks, suggesting that she views these women as frightening and predatory. She thinks of them as "pecking" and "flapping," a metaphorical, rather than literal, use of language.

“The sky was behaving like a showgirl: exchanging its pale, melancholy mornings for sporty ribbons of color in the evening” (Narrator, 186) (Simile)

The sky is personified with a simile that likens it to a showgirl. Like this figurative showgirl, the sky is restrained and melancholy–that is, communicating an impression of sadness. However, in the evening, the sky adopts multicolored flares, like a showgirl changing into her performance costume.

“The words to say her shame clung like polyps in her throat” (Narrator, 179) (Simile)

Though Pallas recovers her voice some time after she enters the Convent, she remains unable to communicate the traumas she has suffered. The words arise, but cling like polyps - benign growths on human mucous membrane, or alternatively sedentary sea creatures - inside her throat.