Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox Metaphors and Similes

Pencil (Simile)

"He was as thin as a pencil and the cleverest of them all." (4)

Here, Roald Dahl compares one of the farmers, Bean, to a pencil. This figurative language demonstrates how extremely skinny Bean is, especially in comparison to the other farmers, and is familiar to schoolchildren, the target audience of the book, since they all likely know how a pencil looks.

Electric Effect (Metaphor)

"The sight of this thing seemed to have an electric effect upon Mr. Fox." (17-18)

Mr. Fox first realizes that the farmers are trying to dig him and his family out of their hole by hearing the shovels. However, what breaks the family out of their petrified state is actually seeing a shovel break through the roof of their burrow. Dahl describes the effect of seeing this as "electric" to show how intensely and quickly Mr. Fox is set in action.

Monsters (Metaphor)

"The machines were both black. They were murderous, brutal-looking monsters." (22)

After shoveling doesn't work, the farmers decide to involve digging machines in their pursuit of Mr. Fox. The narrator describes these machines through both straightforward imagery and a metaphor likening the machines to "monsters." This figurative language makes the appearance and intent of the machines even more scary for young readers.

Crater of a Volcano (Simile)

"The hole the machines had dug was like the crater of a volcano." (28)

Dahl uses imagery and pictures to convey the progress of the farmers in destroying the hill with their digging machines in pursuit of Mr. Fox and his family. This figurative language describes just how far the farmers have gone, likening the hole in otherwise normal ground to a dangerous land form created by intense natural processes. This description not only gives a vivid picture of the scene, but also uses a word loaded with intensity and danger, building the story's suspense.

Melted Gold, Sunbeams, and Rainbows (Similes)

"The cider gurgled and bubbled down his throat. 'It's... it's like melted gold!' he gasped. 'Oh, Foxy, it's... like drinking sunbeams and rainbows!'" (64-65)

Mr. Fox, Badger, and the Smallest Fox are all overjoyed when they realize they can steal some of Bean's marvelous cider. This description is given by Badger when he drinks the cider for the first time and relishes the taste. These similes are not meant to be taken literally, but rather to try to explain the wonderful experience of a taste the animals enjoy and are not used to in their usual diet.