The children's new home is a cellar of a house that was burned down. They have burrowed into it in such a way that it "[looked] like a rabbit's burrow in a mound of rubble, with part of a wall rising behind" (46). The tunnels they have made emphasize the fact that the city, man’s creation, has been destroyed, and that living in a “back to nature” fashion is all that is left at this point.
Simile: Edek's Climbing
Edek was a confident climber, and it is said that he "could climb like a monkey" (46). He was able to scale parts of bombed buildings and climb back down again, carrying supplies much like a monkey carries food. This image of Edek will stand in sharp contrast to the sickly, haggard image of him that will dominate the rest of the novel.
Simile: A Heath Fire
"News of these presents spread like a heath fire" (48). When school supplies are given to Ruth, the news spreads incredibly quickly, overpowering everyone as if it were a fire spreading through a dry brush. This simile effectively demonstrates how thirsty people are for some semblance of normalcy. They want to learn, read, hear stories; they want to feel connected to something that takes them beyond the war.
Simile: A Dam Bursting
When Jan accidentally drops his food on the ground, the sheer number of hungry children lunging for it is like water bursting through an opened dam: unstoppable, completely overwhelming, and something that rolls straight through anything in its way. This simile (pg. 77) emphasizes just how starving these children are. The war has made their lives little more than a struggle, and it only takes one crack in the façade of order to break it all down.
Simile: The Goose
The refugee director wants the sickly Edek to remain at the camp and Bronia observes, "He said you wanted fattening up, as if you were a goose being fattened for Christmas" (80). The doctor feels Edek needs to be sturdier, but his comments, perhaps unconsciously, remind Bronia of the process of force-feeding geese so that they gain a lot of weight suddenly and are therefore end up being more expensive. The slightly discomfiting tinge of this comment foreshadows the other tense and complicated encounters the children will have with adults who mean well, but are ultimately just getting in the way of their reunion with their parents.
The Silver Sword Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Silver Sword is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.