Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya Metaphors and Similes

Sunlight in a well (Simile)

Vanya details his frustrations with his life, saying, "My feelings are wasted like a ray of sunlight falling in a well, and I'm running to waste too" (134). If a ray of sunlight falls upon a well it will be totally swallowed up in the darkness, so ultimately that sunlight is wasted. Vanya believes his feelings are useless and wasted, just like the ray.

Vanya's despair (Metaphor)

Continuing with his ruminations on the horrors of his life, Vanya sighs, "Soon the rain will be over. All living things will revive and breathe more freely. Except me. The storm won't revive me. Day and night my thoughts choke me, haunt me with the spectre of a life hopelessly wasted" (134). He paints a picture of flora and fauna breathing a sigh of relief when the rain is over and rising up energetically to meet the sunshine while he remains soaked, downtrodden, enervated.

Moon (Simile)

Helen likens Astrov to a "bright moon rising in the darkness" (147), a simile that allows her to effectively convey just how unique Astrov is, and how his appearance at the estate brings light and energy that would otherwise not be there.

Light in the Woods (Metaphor)

Like Vanya Astrov occasionally bemoans his parochial existence. For instance: "You know, sometimes when you walk in a wood on a dark night there's a glimmer of light shining in the distance, isn't there? Then you don't notice how tired you are or how dark it is or how the thorns and twigs hit you in the face...but for me there's no light shining in the distance" (138-39) He uses the metaphor of a path through the dark forest to represent life's journey, and a light within it to suggest meaning; however, for him, there is no light, so he is doomed to wander forlornly through the darkness.

Chasing a shadow (Metaphor)

Vanya sneers of Serebryakov, "He's spent twenty-five years chasing his own shadow" (123). This succinct metaphor works well because it suggests that Serebryakov's scholarly pursuits have ultimately been absurd, useless, and devoid of any real accomplishment.