There There

There There Metaphors and Similes

“His mind is a mess of misfires” (Metaphor)

This metaphor the psychological state of Dene when he finds himself unable to remember what he is supposed to say during a presentation.

"A stray bullet, like a stray dog, might up and bite anyone anywhere, just because its teeth were made to bite, made to soften, tear through meat, a bullet is made to eat through as much as it can" (Simile)

This simile foreshadows the terror and loss of control that will be felt during the powwow: tools of destruction such as bullets are frightening precisely because they are totally indiscriminate in who or what they damage, not unlike white settlers in North America.

“His head is an expanding balloon…Everything is ringing…a buzz he can feel in his teeth.” (Metaphor)

This metaphor vividly describes the experience of being shot in the head, adding to the reader's sense of presence and terror during the powwow massacre.

“There’s too much space between each of the parts of my face—eyes, nose, mouth spread out like a drunk slapped it on reaching for another drink” (Simile)

This shrewd turn of phrase connects Tony's fetal alcohol syndrome to its alcoholic cause, invoking the air of negligence or impotence implicit in the idea that a mother would be too addicted to drink to give her child the best possible chance at an unimpaired life.

"We've expected the shooter to appear in our lives in the same way we know death is and always has been coming for us, with its decisive scythe, its permanent cut" (Metaphor)

With this metaphor, Orange deftly compares the threat of violence against Native Americans to how others feel about death: just as we see death as uncertain yet inevitable, violence has become so tragically endemic to Native life that the next violent crime is almost certain—it's just a question of the exact circumstances under which it will transpire.