LITERATURE: Black Swan Green – Simile: Sometimes it doesn’t work…

Mitchell draws the characters well, and in the reflections of the protagonist (Jason–we know this because his mother has addressed him at some point) we do get some nice stuff:

Nobody’d be out on the frozen lake, I’d suspected, and there wasn’t a soul.  Superman II was on TV. (…) Clark Kent gives up his powes just to have sexual intercourse with Lois Lane in a glittery bed.  Who’d make such a stupid swap?  If you could fly?  (p. 17)

So the voice puts the character at a certain stage in his adolescence. It also gives us some of that wonderful child’s eye way of looking at things, which often includes simile, but this one just doesn’t work for me:

Overhanging trees tried to touch my head with their fingers.  Rooks craw…craw…crawed, like old people who’ve forgotten why they’ve come upstairs. 
A sort of trance.  (p. 17)

There’s beauty in the branches as fingers, but trees don’t normally overhang; branches do. It sounds like Mitchell got the image and then didn’t quite know how to put it into words.

The "rooks craw..craw…crawed"–well that works well, giving us the onomatopoeia of the sound.  But coupled with the simile "like old people who’ve forgotten why they’ve come upstairs" doesn’t connect for me.  I love the simile, but I don’t see how the rooks crawing are similar in any way.  Again, it seems that Mitchell tries to cover his ass by adding "A sort of trance."  This almost but doesn’t fit the previous action and mood.

Or maybe I’m just too picky after coming down from William Gay.

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