To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee
Main Ideas

Metaphors and Similes

Main Ideas Metaphors and Similes

Chapter 1

 The Radley Place fascinated Dill. In spite of our warnings and explanations it drew him as the moon draws water, but drew him no nearer than the light-pole on the corner, a safe distance from the Radley gate.
 

Scout compares Dill’s fascination with the Radley Place to the gravitational pull of the moon on Earth’s oceans, which causes the tides. 

Chapter 2

 She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop.

Scout compares Miss Caroline, her young, enthusiastic teacher, to a peppermint candy because she wears a red-and-white striped dress and red nail polish and has red hair.

Chapter 4

As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home, but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something.

In this metaphor, Scout compares her schooling to a slowly moving treadmill: it requires little effort for her to keep pace, but she also doesn’t benefit from it.

Chapter 9

As a result the town remained the same size for a hundred years, an island in a patchwork sea of cottonfields and timberland.

In this metaphor, Scout compares Maycomb to an island and the surrounding rural area to an ocean that has kept the town isolated from the rest of the world.

Chapter 11

. . . the corner of her mouth glistened with wet, which inched like a glacier down the deep grooves enclosing her chin.

In this simile, Scout likens the drool dribbling from the corners of Mrs. Dubose’s mouth to a slow-moving glacier.

Chapter 12

The Governor was eager to scrape a few barnacles off the ship of state; there were sit-down strikes in Birmingham; bread lines in the cities grew longer, people in the country grew poorer.

In this metaphor, Scout compares Depression-era Alabama and its problems to a ship covered in barnacles, small crustaceans that attach themselves to ships and must be scraped off. 

Chapter 13

Aunt Alexandra fitted into the world of Maycomb like a hand into a glove, but never into the world of Jem and me.

In this simile, Scout compares the world of Maycomb to a glove that fits Aunt Alexandra very well, unlike the world of Scout and Jem, which does not suit her at all.  

Chapter 14

I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away.

When Scout overhears Aunt Alexandra and Atticus talking about her, she compares her aunt's notions of propriety and ladylike behavior to a prison-like, stiff, pink dress. 

Suddenly a filthy brown package shot from under the bed.

In this sentence, the “filthy brown package” is actually Dill, who was hiding under the bed.

Chapter 17

With his infinite capacity for calming turbulent seas, he could make a rape case as dry as a sermon.

Scout compares Atticus’s calm, dispassionate style in the courtroom to a kind of superpower that allows him to transform something inherently exciting or dramatic into something Scout considers inherently boring, like a sermon.