Channel Miller’s figurative language…

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes and metaphors from Chanel Miller….

Known to the world as Emily Doe, Chanel Miller became a media sensation when her letter to a sexual assaulter became viral on the website Buzzfeed. More than 11 million people viewed it in four days. Her assaulter — a high profile athlete at Stanford — ultimately faced six months in county jail. But before that happened, Miller faced isolation and shame and a criminal justice system that seemed intent on humiliating her.

In her remarkable book, Know My Name, Chanel Miller (pictured above) tells the story of her assault, the trial and her life. More than that, however, she reveals herself to be a very fine writer and an enormously creative person. (Further evidence of her creativity can be found in a five-minute film she has created called I Am With You. In addition to being able to write, she can also draw!)

Here are my favourite examples of Chanel Miller’s figurative language:

  • We aim to emulate the polished sheen of our friends’ houses. But afterward it’s as if the house can unbutton its pants, release its gut.
  • Palo Alto is lined with magnolia trees full of creamy blossoms, blue mailboxes, oranges like round dots on trees.
  • I crossed my arms, noticed strange shadows on my hand, upon examination, bruises. They had blossomed beneath my skin, the color of morning glories.
  • Applying lotion after showering, my skin prickled and stung. I imagined bees with little teeth, chewing my raw flesh.
  • Tears escaped from the corners of my eyes, funneling neatly into the corners of my lips. A water system I’d perfected. I’ been living with two teacups filled to the brim behind each eye, gotten used to a little spilling out every now and again.
  • The words were indistinguishable, my voice sliding like butter in a hot pan, dragging from one to the next.
  • Closer to campus the streets began sloping upward, the pavement smoothed, the trees spread their arms wide, providing gray continents of shade.
  • I lifted my arms, the black sleeves of Lucas’s jacket extending past my hands like empty sushi rolls.
  • Guards escorted my mom, Tiffany, and me into the tiny victim closet, which was furnished with a dirty yellow couch that looked sculpted out of earwax.
  • Soup with matzo balls as large as fists.
  • It was warm outside, white blossoms fell, reminding me of the white dots of paper that’d fall when you emptied your hole puncher.
  • Seaweed lassoed and slimed around our ankles and we picked I up and draped it across each other’s shoulders like glossy scarves.
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