Crewel Metaphors and Similes

“My heart is a war drum, pounding too loudly” (51) (Metaphor)

This is how Adelice describes her emotions when she first meets Maela. The comparison of her heart to a war drum indicates that the relationship between she and Maela will be a combative one. From its start, Adelice is on the defensive. The comparison also suggests that Adelice's loved ones, those who Maela and the Guild seek to use in order to control Adelice, actually serve as Adelice's main motivation for standing up to the Guild and rebelling their controlling governance.

"But all I see is the lack of windows and how it rises like an endless cage into the cloudless sky. No one can ever escape it” (78) (simile)

Even once she is released from her cell in the basement, Adelice can't help but feel trapped within the Coventry walls. With her sister in Guild possession, Adelice has no chance of escaping them. In comparing the Coventry to a cage, Albin also aligns Adelice with a prisoner or an animal captured against its will.

“Maela towers in front of us, her crimson dress a splash of blood against the dark backdrop of the men” (86) (metaphor)

The metaphor comparing her dress to blood foreshadows the impending death Maela is about to cause by ripping the section in Cypress, and symbolizes Maela’s murderous spirit. However, the blood-red dress, which hangs from Maela’s own frame, also demonstrates the extent to which she too is at risk. Indeed, Ambassador Patton holds the power to kill her with a single command should she ever step too far out of line. Maela’s positioning in front of the male guards is also significant. She stands powerfully in the foreground while a group of men linger behind. Her confidence is a threat to the male-run Guild: it threatens to outshine them, particularly when she refuses to be cowed by their warnings and threats.

“Wild creatures are happy enough if they don’t know they’re being kept in a cage” (81) (metaphor)

After arriving at the Coventry, Adelice notices how little the other girls care about being taken away from their families to live forever in a tall, stone, building. This metaphor illustrates how many of the Spinsters, wild creatures, are happy to accept their captivity in the Coventry, their cage, because they aren't even aware they've been captured.

“Her voice is a hollow whisper, and ghosts echo in her eyes” (177) (metaphor)

This is how Adelice describes Loricel once the two of them complete a removal during training. Loricel's irises are like ghosts, because, after so many years of performing Crewel work, she has seen several threads removed and witnessed many deaths.