Runner Metaphors and Similes

Like a Cancer (Simile)

To illustrate the insidious, unstoppable, and unhealthy character of the rising dampness in his home, Charlie compares the winter damp's penetrative effect to that of cancer: "It moved into houses, rose up in the walls, black and wet, like a cancer." In this simile, the house becomes like a body and the damp like a spreading cancer.

Like a Drunk Takes to the Bottle (Simile)

After Charlie realizes that running could be his way of coping with the inhuman cold, he uses a simile to liken his addiction to nightly running to the love a drunk has for alcohol, saying he takes to the streets "like a drunk takes to the bottle."

Like a Weasel (Simile)

At Darling Parade, Charlie sees Squizzy's portrait and perceives something cunning and deceitful about the man, leading to a simile that compares Squizzy to a weasel. Foreshadowing Squizzy's eventual treacherousness, he appears to Charlie as looking "like a weasel, cunning and beady-eyed."

All Hell Broke Loose (Metaphor)

After tensions between the rival Richmond and Fitzroy pushes, violence erupts among the gang members. Charlie uses the metaphorical phrase "all hell broke loose" to describe the deadly and sinful chaos that transpires as the rivals battle for supremacy.

Like the Pages in a Book (Simile)

At the beginning of the novel, Charlie uses a simile to compare the streets of Richmond to the pages of a book. While both tell a story, the story of Richmond leaves out the happy endings of conventional narratives. To Charlie, the story the streets of Richmond tell are unlike any he would learn in school; in Richmond, he learns lessons of hardship, poverty, cunning, and excitement.