The figurative language of Katherena Vermette…

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of metaphors, similes and images of personification from Katherena Vermette….

Katherena Vermette (pictured above) has written a gripping and gritty novel displaying the adversity facing Indigenous women in Canada. Her book, The Break does not mince words and even contains a “trigger warning” on its title page, alerting readers to scenes of sexual and physical violence.

While I found the story hard to read, my reluctance arose entirely from the content, not the writing, which was superb. Here are some examples of her superb use of figurative language:

  • When snow touches those raw Hydro wires they make this intrusive buzzing sound. It’s constant and just quiet enough that you can ignore it, like a whisper you know is a voice but you can’t hear the words.
  • Gabe Hill blew into my life riding high on a wave of good looking and good smelling. His dimples were so big I nearly fell into them.
  • “Actually, my mom could get her status back is she wanted to. My aunt did, after my grandma died. I could get it too, really.” “You don’t need to go that far! Metis is good enough,” Hannah said like they were picking paint colours. Red is too bold, just a pale pink please.
  • She just turns back to her daughter, to the bruise under her eye and the cut on her lip, swollen slightly under the bandage, sticking out like a small pout.
  • The wind constantly pushes the snow into the year, like a long hand trying to bury them.
  • One of them, Destiny, had a file that read like a police report. She was the sort of child who was permanently bruised yet jutted her chin out to the world, willing it to hit her again.
  • When her dad laughs, the whole room wants to laugh too.
  • She can still see the outline of the full moon, yellow and porous. Like a shadow.