Raffaele uses the metaphor of “threads of connection” to explain to Adelina how the powers of the Young Elites work. He describes the world as being composed of countless threads that connect all things, from the smallest ant to the mightiest god. He says that most people don’t have enough energy to manipulate the threads connecting them to the world, but because of the blood fever the Young Elites are different. It linked them to the world in way that allows them to tug and pull on the connecting threads. Because each Elite is a different person, they all tug on different threads. For example, while Lucent pulls on the threads that create wind, Enzo pulls on threads of heat energy to create his flames.
Adelina’s Powers (Simile)
The first time Adelina uses her powers it’s to defend herself against her father. She conjures up an illusion of “towering black shapes” that petrify her father and cause him to run into his horse. When describing using her powers, Adelina said it felt “as if [her] mind had crept out of [her] body and into the ground” (Lu 2014 pp. 42). Here, Adelina uses a simile to explain the sensation of creating illusions. The images she conjures up are the personified forms of her thoughts and emotions.
Violetta’s Powers (Simile)
Unbeknownst to Adelina, Violetta had been suppressing her sister’s powers their entire lives. When Adelina is fleeing their father’s home, Violetta lifts her ban on Adelina’s powers. At this point Adelina does not know her sister has abilities, and thinks that Violetta is simply releasing her from her responsibilities as the older sister. Adelina describes this sensation as feeling like a mantle had been removed from her shoulders. She does not know that she is actually feeling Violetta relinquishing control over her powers. This simile, which equates Violetta’s powers to a mantle that weighs down those she uses them against, is our first indication that there may be more to Violetta than meets the eye.
Giulietta’s Eyes (Simile)
In the first chapter told from Teren’s point of view, Giulietta’s eyes are described as very dark and wholly empty, as if “[Teren] could fall to his death in them” (Lu 2014 pp. 110). The use of this simile to describe Giulietta’s eyes has several rhetorical strategies. First, it coalesces nicely with Lu’s use of imagery throughout the book to describe character’s eyes. Second, unlike other examples of foreshadowing in the novel, it quite obviously portends something sinister for Teren in the future. Giulietta has Teren wrapped tightly around her finger, and has given him dangerous and illegal missions. This moment in Teren’s chapter seems to suggest that Giulietta and her ambition will be the literal death of him.
Broken Butterfly (Metaphor)
When Adelina and Violetta are 10 and 8 they come across a butterfly with one of its wings torn off. Violetta wants to save the butterfly, but Adelina pronounces it beyond saving. She gets angry with Violetta for not realizing that for some things life doesn’t end well. She tells her sister “Some of us are broken and there’s nothing you can do to fix it” (Lu 2014 pp. 79). Adelina’s use of “us” makes it clear that she considers herself and the broken butterfly to be one in the same. Both are dismembered beings beyond saving. It is when Raffaele gives Adelina a makeover that the broken butterfly clearly becomes a metaphor for Adelina herself. After he’s applied cosmetics and clothed her in Tamouran dress, Raffaele gifts her a mask he had specially commissioned for her. The mask hides her missing eye. When Adelina sees herself in the mirror she thinks that she, the broken butterfly, is made whole.
The Young Elites Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Young Elites is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.