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What are examples of similes in "The Scarlet Letter"?

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Quick Answer

One simile in "The Scarlet Letter" occurs in the book's prologue when the narrator writes that a hearty old man's voice is "like the crow of a cock, or the blast of a clarion." A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things using "like" or "as."

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Full Answer

Nathaniel Hawthorne uses similes throughout the book. In the first chapter, the narrator writes that an ugly expression that flashes across a man's face is "like a snake gliding swiftly over them." In chapter eight, he writes that the child Pearl standing on the window ledge looks "looking like a wild tropical bird of rich plumage, ready to take flight into the upper air."

Hawthorne also uses similes that use the word "as." For example he writes that a man who has disappeared from society vanished "out of life as completely as if he indeed lay at the bottom of the ocean." Later, in chapter ten, Dimmesdale says that a person may seem "pure as new-fallen snow" but still have significant sin in her heart.

Hawthorne also employs a number of adjectival similes throughout the text, writing that someone has a "saint-like frown" in chapter 11 and describing a "tomb-like heart" in chapter 15.

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