The Lion and the Jewel

The Lion and the Jewel Metaphors and Similes

Simile: Lakunle's love

Lakunle says to Sidi, "my love will open your mind / Like the chaste lead in the morning, when / The sun first touches it" (6). This is an example of Lakunle's verbose, faux-poetic type of rhetoric. He thinks flowery words will impress Sidi, but she is merely annoyed and tells him that he tires her. In his comparison of love to a "chaste" flower, Lakunle is also indicating how he sees Sidi.

Metaphor: Lakunle's heart

Lakunle whines to Sidi, "my heart / Bursts into flowers with my love. / But you, you and the dead of this village / Trample it with the feet of ignorance" (6). He uses the metaphor of a flower blooming due to the power of his love, but then depicts that flower being trampled into oblivion by the callous village. It is an extreme metaphor and one that bespeaks Lakunle's hyperbolic tendencies. He depicts his heart as being delicate and fragile, which ironically is proven not to be the case: when he thinks he is to marry Sidi, the putative love of his life, he thinks it is too scary and too soon; then, he forgets her almost immediately by chasing after another village girl.

Simile: Baroka's face

Sidi scoffs about Baroka, "But he—his face is like a leather piece / Torn rudely from the saddle of his horse" (22). She contrasts him with herself—a light, lovely, sparkling creature, whose fame is beginning to rise. These words about Baroka prove to be ironic since he ends up winning her.

Metaphor: Knowledge

Baroka tells Sidi, "I see you dip your hand / Into the pockets of the school teacher / And retrieve it bulging with knowledge" (50). This metaphor depicts Sidi as a child reaching into an older person's pocket in hopes of finding knowledge, which effectively diminishes her stature. It also depicts the school teacher as rather haphazard and informal in his possession of knowledge: why is this knowledge just stuffed willy-nilly into his pocket? In this metaphor Baroka subtly and slyly undermines both Sidi and Lakunle.

Metaphor: Wine

Baroka tells Sidi, "old wine thrives best / Within a new bottle" (54). This metaphor works on two levels. The first is the surface-level metaphor that Sidi is supposed to pick up: traditions and old ways of doing things will seem fuller and sweeter if they are housed and filtered within modernity and progress. However, the more debauched meaning that Baroka amuses himself with is that he will pour his old wine—his semen—into her new body, and thus create a child. Old men do well with young women, he thinks.