Simile in Afterward

Simile Examples in Afterward:

IV 2

"she felt almost like the furniture of the room in which she sat, an insensate object to be dusted and pushed about with the chairs and tables...."   (IV)

The adjective “insensate” means lacking in awareness, feeling, or understanding. Mary feels as though she has become part of the house: she exists simply for decoration, not for any greater purpose. Her husband’s disappearance has numbed her to old feelings of terror as she becomes more accustomed to the ever-present feeling of dread.

" like the victim of some poison which leaves the brain clear, but holds the body motionless, she saw herself domesticated with the Horror, accepting its perpetual presence as one of the fixed conditions of life...."   (IV)

Mary compares the pain of not knowing her husband’s fate to being paralyzed by a poison. She perceives herself as being in the grip of “Horror,” unable to move beyond it but freely capable of pondering the implications of its existence. Her fate is one of domestication—ruled and ordered about by the terror of her home rather than in control of her own fate, speaking again to the subservient role of women.

"as unemotionally as a gramophone grinding out its “record.”..."   (V)

Like a gramophone—another word for a record player—Parvis is machinelike, unimpeded by emotion as he recounts the horrible suicide of Elwell. The simile suggests that Parvis doesn’t feel emotional about Elwell’s death, and that he is merely performing his duty by enlightening Mary about Ned’s dealings.