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 challenging content, not the writing, which was superb. Here are some examples of her splendid 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.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on July 20/18.

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