Usage of simile in the novel «Doctor in the House» by Richard Gordon | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции

Библиографическое описание:

Гафурова Д. Ж. Usage of simile in the novel «Doctor in the House» by Richard Gordon [Текст] // Филологические науки в России и за рубежом: материалы IV Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Санкт-Петербург, декабрь 2016 г.). — СПб.: Свое издательство, 2016. — С. 17-19. — URL (дата обращения: 20.06.2018).

Richard Gordon's novel «Doctor in the House» is fascinating. Not long ago I read this novel and it is about the life of medical students. The author described the process of preparation to exams and process of examination itself in full details. The author depicts the characters very vividly and skillfully.

Analyzing this novel I noticed that writer used more and more stylistic devices there. Stylistic devices help reader to imagine the real scene of the events. Simile is one of the productive device of stylistics. Sometimes for a special reason one of the features of the thing is made the most essential, it is elevated to greatest importance. Simile is such stylistic device. [1, p. 113]

The intensification of some feature of the concept in question is realized in a device called simile. The simile is a stylistic devise expressing a likeness between different objects. The formal elements of the simile are the following conjunctions and adverbs: as, like, as like, such as, as if, seem etc. [2,p.167]

In my article I decided to analyze the simile only with the element of like. The simile is based on the comparison of objects belonging to different spheres. In this novel we can see this version of simile. Eg.:

They lay in the slots of their metal trays, fitting in with each other like the pieces of a Chinese puzzle. [3.p.2]

In this example writer compared tray to the pieces of a Chinese puzzle.

It is important not to confuse ordinary comparison and simile as a stylistic device which represent two diverse processes. Comparison implies estimation of two objects which belong to one class of objects with the purpose of establishing the sameness or difference. Comparison takes into consideration all the properties of the two objects. [1,p.114]

E.g.: And mind you get in the first fifteen like your father did.' is ordinary comparison. «Boy» and «father» belong to the same class of objects — human beings. [3,p.3]

The nature of simile is to compare two (or several) objects which belong to different class of objects.

Different features may be compared in simile: the state, actions, manners. [1,p.115]


a) The staff at St. Swithin's had come to outnumber the patients by four to one and now seemed to be expanding naturally, like a water-lily covering a small pond. (the state) [3,p.7]

b) If the candidate loses his nerve in front of this terrible displeasure he is finished: confusion breeds confusion and he will come to the end of his interrogation struggling like a cow in a bog. (mannar) [3,p.132]

c) He produced the appendix from the wound like a bird pulling a worm from the ground, and laid it and the attached intestine on a little square of gauze. (action) [3,p.53]

A simile consists of three components:

1) What is compared (the subject of a simile);

2) With what the comparison is made (the object of the simile);

3) The basis of the comparison.

I pushed open the theatre door and stepped inside reverently, likea tourist entering a cathedral. [3,p.49]

I. Subj. basisobj.

Similes enrich English phraseology: like a cherry on a dish of ice-cream, like a hungry tiger, like a bird pulling a worm from the ground, like a dog picking up a scent, like a playful kitten, etc. [2.p.169]

The simile must not be confused with a metaphor, though they are both based on a likeness between objects:

The Dean fell into his armchair like a knocked-out boxer. [3,p.125]

The author of the book colourfully describes all sides of students' life. He compares the day of taking examination to «judgment day».

E.g.: a) To a medical student the final examinations are something like death: an unpleasant inevitability to be faced sooner or later, one's state after which is determined by the care spent in preparing for the event. [3,p.126]

b). Examinations touch off his fighting spirit; they are a straight contest between himself and the examiners, conducted on well-established rules for both, and he goes at them like a prize-fighter. [3,p.127]

Besides the original similes created by writers there are a great number of so-called traditional similes in the language, which must be regarded as phraseological units. The image suggested by such similes is usually trite.

In these traditional similes the names of animals, plants, natural phenomena are frequently used.


a) My heart, which had been soaring likea swallow, took a sharp dive to earth. [3, p. 141]

b) The queue shifted up the wooden seat as each patient was called inside by the stern-faced nurse at the door: the movement was slow and spasmodic, like the stirrings of a sleepy snake. [3,p.105]

c) The snowflakes fell upon me eagerly, like a crowd of mosquitoes, leaping for my face, the back of my neck, and my ankles. [3,p.78]

d) 'Upstairs, mate,' she said and scuttled away into the darkness like a rat. [3,p.80]

e) After it's been as quiet as this for a bit they start popping out likerabbits from their warrens. [3,p.80]'

f) 'Take your dirty little hand away!' said Sir Lancelot savagely, flicking it off the surface of the abdomen like a fly. [3,p.60]

g) All I could see of him was a single brown, bushy strip that separated the top of his mask and the edge of his cap, through which there glared two unfriendly eyes like a hungry tiger inspecting a native through the undergrowth. [3,p.50]

h) The name had a pleasing dignity about it and suggested the student really did something useful in the hospital instead, as it was always impressed on him by the nurses and houseman, of getting in everyone's way like a playful kitten. [3,p.47]

i) Snatches of song floated into my brain likeweed on a sluggish sea. [3,p. 29]

j) They flitted from one group of students to another likebees in a herbaceous border, pollinating each pair with knowledge. [3,p.25]

k) A few more hobbled about on their sticks, tossed helplessly in the strong cross-currents of hospital activity; one or two fortunate ones had found quiet alcoves and stayed there, liketrout backing under the bank of a rocky stream. [3,p.7]

Traditional similes are often employed by writers in the direct speech of characters, thus individualizing their speech; and are seldom represented in the author's narrative.

In the author's narrative traditional similes are most often used to stress the highest degree of quality:

'One doesn't fail exams,' said Grimsdyke firmly. 'One comes down, one muffs, one is ploughed, plucked, or pipped. These infer a misfortune that is not one's own fault. To speak of failing is bad taste. It's the same idea as talking about passing away and going above instead of plain dying.' [3,p.143]

In this description the author shows the real significance of exams. That day can be something strange for examinees.


a) The room had suddenly come to a frightening, unexpected silence and stillness, like an unexplodedbomb. [3.p.145]

b) I crashed through the door like a hotwind. [3.p.146]

c) I was shown to a tiny waiting-room furnished with hard chairs, a wooden table, and windows that wouldn't open, like the condemnedcell. [3,p.146]

These combinations have ceased to be genuine similes and have become cliches in which the second component has become merely an intensifier.

E.g.: I had cut down my work preparing for the test by refusing to study at all topics that had been asked in the past few papers, in the belief that examiners, like lightning, never strike twice in the same place. [3,p.37]

The simile usually serves as a means to clearer meaning. By comparing the object the writer makes his description clearer and more picturesque.

E.g.: He felt sweat on his brow and his mouth went dry; he saw his chances of passing fading like a spent match. He gave a desperate heave. [3, p. 142]

Besides making a narrative more concrete and definite, the simile helps the author to reveal certain feelings of his own as well.

E.g.: Circulating busily between them were a dozen or so nurses, examiners in white coats, and unhappy students dangling their stethoscopes behind them like the tails of whipped puppies. [3,p.6]

The stylistic function of simile is

1) imaginative characterization of a phenomenon:

E.g: He was a tall, bony, red-faced man with a bald head round which a ring of white fluffy hair hung like clouds at a mountain top. [3,p.47]

2) to produce a humorous effect by its unexpectedness.


a) I felt like an actor who had forgotten his lines and finds the prompter has gone out for a drink. [3,p.82]

b) I felt like a man going out to start an old car on a cold morning. [3,p.72]

c) She remained passive, like a cow with its mind on other things. [3,p.72]

Writing this novel the author showed us the atmosphere sometimes people have to be in using colorful stylistic devices. Richard Gordon gives us a way of understanding such things in people's life.

When I finished to read this novel it was interesting for me to know about similes used in it. I looked through this novel and found 81 situations where similes are used. All these devices serve to support reader to feel real conditions and feelings of characters in this book.


  1. Musayev Khudrat. English stylistics. Tashkent.2003
  2. Galperin I. R. Stylistics. M., Higher School, 1977
  3. Richard Gordon. DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE.
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): DOCTOR, HOUSE, THE.


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