The Talented Mr. Ripley Metaphors and Similes

The Talented Mr. Ripley Metaphors and Similes

Metaphor for wealth

When Tom is first contacted by Mr. Herbert, he tells Tom that his son, Dickie, left to Italy to paint even though his parents wanted him to stay home and take over the family business. The act of painting is seen here as a metaphor for wealth, as not many people had the opportunity to follow their dreams and to do what they wanted from an artistically perspective. Being able to pursue his dream of painting in Italy meant that Dickie and his family were wealthy enough to afford such luxuries and to not care where the money comes from.

Metaphor for feeling left out

In the 8th chapter, Tom is sick with an upset stomach after his first unfruitful meeting with Dickie and Marge. The upset stomach is used here as a metaphor to suggest Tom’s feelings of inadequacy and his own feelings of insecurity when it comes to interacting with people who are richer than he is.

Metaphor for leisure

Once in Italy, Tom and Dickie spend a lot of their time on the beach, lounging and doing nothing. The beach becomes synonymous with happiness and leisure for Tom and in time, it becomes a metaphor for the carefree life the rich can have and the life he will never be able to achieve.

Metaphor for danger

Large bodies of water such as the ocean are presented in the novel as being metaphors for danger. This association appears first when Tom mentions his parents died drowning and it appears in later chapters as well, for instance when Tom kills Dickie while out in the sea and tosses his body overboard to hide his actions.

Like a son

In the first chapters, Tom talks about Herbert and how he was treated by the elderly man. Tom mentions he felt as if Herbert was treating him like a son, someone from his own family. The comparison has the purpose of showing just how much Herbert trusted Tom and how much faith he had in him.

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