Simanaitis Says

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AS HARD-BOILED AS A SHAMUS’S SIMILE PART 2

YESTERDAY AT SimanaitisSays, we talked about the difference between similes and metaphors, defined the word “shamus,” and extolled mystery author Raymond Chandler as a master of all three. Today, I share some of my favorite Chandler quotes gleaned from reading his books, including The Annotated Big Sleep, short stories and other sources. They’re icing on the Chandler cake. They’re as tasty as M&M’s® peanut candies mixed in with popcorn.

The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1988. His fifth novel, first published in 1949.

In Chandler’s book The Little Sister, 1949, private detective Philip Marlowe meets Miss Gonzalez: “She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looked by moonlight.” To rhetoricians, this is an example of synaesthesia, employing one sense to describe another.

In another The Little Sister encounter, Marlowe gets positively Bertrand Russellesque in his commentary: “She jerked away from me like a startled fawn might, if I had startled a fawn and it jerked away from me.”

The High Window, by Raymond Chandler, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1988. First published in 1942.

Similes don’t have to be lengthy. From Chandler’s The High Window, 1942: “A check girl in peach-bloom Chinese pajamas came over to take my hat and disapprove of my clothes. She had eyes like strange sins.”

Pearls are a Nuisance, by Raymond Chandler, Penguin Books, Later Printing Used Edition, 1969. First published in 1939.

There’s metaphorical context of sorts, not to say droll humor, in a fight description from Chandler’s short story Pearls are a Nuisance, 1939: “He snorted and hit me in the solar plexus. I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor.”

Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1992. First published in 1940.

My all-time favorite Chandler is from chapter 13 of his Farewell, My Lovely, 1940: “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.”

I see, hear, and feel it. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2018

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