Journey's End

Journey's End Metaphors and Similes

Drinking like a fish (Simile)

In the first scene of the play, Hardy and Osborne discuss Captain Stanhope. Hardy asks if he still "drinks like a fish." The simile draws a comparison between a fish, who is always submerged in water and therefore always drinking it, to Stanhope, who drinks alcohol to calm his rattled nerves.

Quiet as an empty house (Simile)

Early in the play, Trotter says that, in contrast to the usual persistent sound of guns and bombs, outside it is "quiet as an empty house." The simile implies that there is an eerie quality to the silence. In the specific context, silence is unnerving to Trotter, as it means the Germans are holding off on theirusual warfare as they prepare to launch a full-scale offensive attack.

Tunneling worm (Metaphor)

While conversing alone together, Stanhope and Osborne discuss how a worm knows if it is tunneling up or down. They conclude that it likely doesn't know, and Stanhope says that he believes this would be the worst part of being a worm, to not know. The statement has a metaphorical resonance: without speaking to the subject directly, Stanhope is drawing a parallel between the situation of the worm and the soldiers at war, who are unsure whether they are headed in the direction of victory or simply digging deeper in the other direction.

Glorious bedroom eyes (Metaphor)

While distracting themselves from the seven deaths that the raid resulted in, Trotter, Hibbert, and Stanhope discuss photographs of attractive women. One of them comments that a girl has "glorious bedroom eyes." The metaphor is a euphemism to suggest that she has a lusty, sexual expression in her eyes.

Collapsing dugout (Metaphor)

In the final moments of the play, the dugout in which the action has taken place is bombarded with shells that collapse the entrance, thereby entombing Raleigh's body beneath the earth. The image of the dugout changing into a tomb has a metaphoric significance: the dugout in which the soldiers have lived turns out to have been a grave waiting to be filled in.