RARA-AVIS: Chandler, similes, metaphors

From: Michael Sharp ( msharp@binghamton.edu)
Date: 26 Aug 2000

Chandler is unsurpassed in the brilliance of his metaphors and similes and I rarely if ever find them creating caricature. He's one of the few people who could make a metaphor or simile truly surprising, and make it resonate beyond a simple clever surface meaning. Chandler was faulted in reviews for his the met/sim thing, but if you compare his with his imitators (on my mind now is Kenneth Millar), the latter seem sad and anemic. It's interesting, Bill, that you say Moose "started out" seeming a caricature
... but he stayed that way in my head for only about a page or so. You're right that "shortcutting" is often necessary, and that it can be accomplished through comparisons of the met/sim type ... but it's weird bec Chandler doesn't come to mind when I think of "shortcutting," mainly because I wonder, what would he be taking a short cut to? The plot? Chandler didn't give two cents for the plot (for the most part), so it's hard to think of him "shortcutting" to move it along.


Michael D. Sharp Assistant Professor Binghamton University (SUNY) Department of English Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
(607) 777-2418

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