Gilead Metaphors and Similes

"My sermon was like ashes on my tongue" (Ames, 21) (Simile)

Ames likening his sermon to the taste of ash invokes the themes of communion and spiritual sacrifice, as he similarly does with the ash taste of the biscuit.

"Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain" (Ames, 21) (Simile)

Ames ties the peace of Sunday to the hope and beauty of a new garden, juxtaposing spiritual harmony with everyday wonderment.

"Well, this old seed is about to drop into the ground. Then I'll know" (53) (Metaphor)

Ames invokes this turn of phrase as a metaphor for death, for returning to the Earth, and for the cycle of life and death.

Fireflies, Sparks, and Humanity (Metaphor)

Ames and Boughton watch fireflies and Boughton says, "Man is born to trouble as the sparks upward." This leads Ames to reflect that "the same metaphor may describe the human individual, as well. Perhaps Gilead. Perhaps civilization. Prod a little and the sparks will fly" (72). This is appropriate for the "prodding" of Jack and the resultant "sparks."

Ames's Grandfather Losing his Bible (Metaphor)

Ames sees a metaphor in how his grandfather lost his bible in a frantic retreat across the river, and that "the waters never parted for him, not once in his life, so far as I know. There was just no end to difficulty, and no mitigation of it. Then again, he always sought it out" (90).