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It’s inauguration day, and I’m in my office listening to the radio.  I’m shuffling around at paperwork and the like, but I must admit I’m neglecting Welty in my inaugural distractions.


I don’t want to neglect her entirely, however.  My next story is “Death of a Traveling Salesman.”  I’ll probably blog it tomorrow.  For today, I just want to take a moment to admire Welty’s use of simile.  Like is a prevalent word in her stories, and this one is no exception.


A few examples from “Death of Traveling Salesman”:


–“Every time Bowman stuck his head out of the dusty car to stare up the road, it seemed to reach a long arm down and push against the top of his head, right through his hat—like the practical joke of a drummer, long on the road.”


–“He saw that his car had fallen into a tangle of immense grapevines as thick as his arm, which caught it and held it, rocked it like a grotesque child in a dark cradle, and then, as he watched, concerned somehow that he was not still inside it, released it gently to the ground.”


–“Then all of a sudden his heart began to behave strangely.  Like a rocket set off, it began to leap and expand into uneven patterns of beats which showered into his brain, and he could not think.”


–“Inside, the darkness of the house touched him like a professional hand, the doctor’s.”


She did have a unique way of seeing the world.  Next time I do a simile exercise for a writing class, I’m calling on her.


P.S.  My apologies to Mark Cox for using the title of one of his poems for the title of this blog post.  You should be able to read Mark’s poem here.

September 2019
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