The Pearl

She (Juana) had not prayed directly for the recovery of the baby--She had prayed that they might find a pearl with which to hire the doctor to cure the baby, for the minds of people are as unsubstantial as the mirage (optical illusion) of the Gulf.

Figurative Language: What things are being compared: What the comparison shows:

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The minds of people are being directly compared to something that doesn't exist; a mirage.