Death Comes for the Archbishop

Death Comes for the Archbishop Metaphors and Similes

“What shall I do, Jean? Help me!” he cried. “I cannot break my father’s heart, and I cannot break the vow I have made to Heaven" (287) (metaphor)

Father Vaillant pleads to Father Latour for help in trying to decide whether or not to run away from his family to become a priest. When he worries about breaking his father's heart, he is, of course, using a metaphor. He would not actually inflict some kind of physical harm on his father's heart: rather, he is afraid of the emotional trauma he may inflict.

"He felt as if he were celebrating Mass at the bottom of the sea, for antediluvian creatures" (101) (simile)

When Father Latour celebrates Mass at a strange old church in the mesa country, he feels as though he is in a completely alien environment, where the mysteriously grave attitude of the parishioners too makes him feel as though he has entered a different age.

"He found himself in a lofty cavern, shaped somewhat like a Gothic chapel, of vague outline" (129) (simile)

When Father Latour with Jacinto, his Indian guide, takes shelter from a storm in a cave, his first impression is that the space resembles a church. This turns out to not be a coincidence, since, as Jacinto says, the place is sacred to his tribe.

"As the night wore on, the bed on which the Bishop lay became a bed of thorns; he could bear it no longer" (212) (metaphor)

After Father Vaillant leaves, Father Latour becomes rather lonely and faces a night of spiritual crisis in which he is unable to sleep. The metaphor of lying on a bed of thorns not only gives a vivid sensuous description of the pain and anxiety that he is going through but also associates his suffering with the physical and spiritual sufferings of Jesus, who, at his crucifixion, was made to wear a crown of thorns.

"Travelling with Eusabio was like travelling with the landscape made human. He accepted chance and weather as the country did, with a sort of grave enjoyment" (235) (simile)

When Father Vaillant travels with Eusabio, he finds that, whereas he always feels a certain degree of alienation from the New Mexican landscape, his Navajo friend seems attuned to it to the point that he is like a human manifestation of the personality of the landscape.