Main Ideas

Metaphors and Similes

Main Ideas Metaphors and Similes

Book 1, Chapter I

In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. 

In this simile, the narrator compares the flight of a helicopter to a bluebottle, a type of fly that can hover and dart about in the air. 

It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too, had a sheep-like quality. 

In this simile, the narrator compares the face and voice of Goldstein, who has white hair and a goatee, to that of a sheep.

Book 1, Chapter II

He went to the bathroom and carefully scrubbed the ink away with the gritty dark brown soap which rasped your skin like sandpaper and was therefore well adapted for this purpose.

In this simile, the narrator compares the texture of Winston’s soap to that of sandpaper, which scrapes a surface in order to make it smooth.

He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. 

In this metaphor, the narrator compares the writings in Winston’s diary to the words of a ghost, which no one else will ever hear. 

Book 1, Chapter VII

He seemed to be breaking up before one's eyes, like a mountain crumbling.

In this simile, the narrator compares Rutherford, a large but aging man who was once physically imposing, to an eroding mountain.

Book 1, Chapter VIII

Her voice seemed to stick into his brain like jagged splinters of glass.

In this simile, Winston tries to write something down, but his mind can’t focus because of the singing coming from the telescreen, which the narrator describes as being as detrimental to his focus as if there were shards of glass stuck in his brain.

Book 2, Chapter III

In this game that we're playing, we can't win.

In this metaphor, Winston compares life in Oceania to an unwinnable game because he’s given up all hope of ever being able to overcome the Inner Party’s control over his life 

Book 2, Chapter V

What mattered was that the room over the junk-shop should exist. . . . The room was a world, a pocket of the past where extinct animals could walk. Mr. Charrington, thought Winston, was another extinct animal. 

This metaphor compares Winston, Julia, and Mr. Charrington to extinct animals, suggesting that people like them do not belong in the present; the room over Mr. Charrington’s junk shop, however, is a special “pocket of the past” where these extinct animals are free to roam. 

Book 2, Chapter VII

His tiny sister, clinging to her mother with both hands, exactly like a baby monkey, sat looking over her shoulder at him with large, mournful eyes.

While Winston recalls a childhood memory  of stealing food from his sister, he compares her to a baby monkey because the lack of food has made her thin, but this comparison also shows how people are driven to dehumanize one another in this society.

Book 2, Chapter VIII

O'Brien took the decanter by the neck and filled up the glasses with a dark-red liquid. . . . Seen from the top the stuff looked almost black, but in the decanter it gleamed like a ruby.

In this simile, the narrator compares the appearance of wine—which Winston has never seen before—to that of a ruby, a precious red stone.