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Language and Style

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A simile is a stylistic device that compares two things indirectly with an aim of drawing  a mental picture in the mind of the reader. Before the Kaelo's relocate to Nasila, some women from Nasila visit Mama Milanoi. They signal a future menace since the girls are not circumcised. The author says, "The words came to haunt her like a demented spirit" (p.8). This is later seen when mama Milanoi and Kaelo have to live alone in their old age after Taiyo and Resian go to the ranch and later to the university (p.13). "They had likened him to a mono- eyed giant who stood on legs of straw."(p.13).

Kaelo is compared to a giant because he holds a senior position in his home, as the head in his house yet he has chosen to be very weak by having only one wife and two daughters. The elders feel Kaelo is not stable. He should be supported by many sons like Simiren. Ole Supeyo compares effects of FGM with effects of dehorning cows. "Like cattle that  required being dehorned to reduce accidental injuries to each other, a certain docility was required to keep more than one wife in one homestead" (p.22). This simile shows the chauvinistic nature of Supeyo.

"The sense of foreboding from the threat was still hanging in the air like the sword of Damocles.' (p.27). This simile shows the apprehensive mood in which the girls are in after they are accosted by the callous young man. Mama Milanoi says her husband had bullied and scolded her "like half-witted child" (p.29). This shows how Kaelo considered her as a child. It also reveals the low position of a wife in a Maa family.

Uncle Simiren danced, his bald head shining like a piece of iron sheet in the afternoon sun." (p.45). The simile shows the industry, age and alienation of Simiren as well as the celebratory mood in the event. After the drinks, voices of laughter of the revelers are described as: "they rose and fell like sound of waves beating upon flooded river banks to show the exuberant carefree mood (p.50). A simile describes Resian's condition of insecurity, "Lonely stalked her like a lost young leopard." (p.57). This shows the danger that looms in the new environment. Kaelo comments, "Your daughter Resian is like an overfed lizard in the afternoon sun" (p.64).The simile is used to comment on the lazy character of Resian.

Olarinkoi is described as "sitting quietly and staring unblinkingly like a leopard would while stalking an antelope (p.75). This shows Olarinkoi's antisocial nature. It also indirectly reveals his real intention in Kaelo's home. Yeiyo Botorr expresses her contempt for Resian's assertive character in a simile. "One with olkuenyi (bad spirit) was shunned like plague" (p.78). "It was easier to fall in love with a serpent than with Olarinkoi" (p.80). Taiyo's statements shows that Olarinkoi is antisocial and nobody would wish him to be their friend. Mama Milanoi cannot bear the pricking language of Resian on Oloisudori. She says, "You spoke like one with a demented spirit?" This shows Mama Milanoi's fear towards Oloisudori and her meekness to Kaelo.

Kaelo comments, "Why do you run like one who has seen an apparition? (p.96). In this simile, Kaelo-Resian cold relationship is shown. After Oloisudori's visit, the couple has sleepless nights. "They turned and turned like ilmintilis being roasted in the fire" (p.107). The simile shows the torture that the couple undergoes. After Oloisudori informs the couple that he is to have their two daughters, "a disaster loomed large like ominous black clouds" (p.121).

To express her aggressive character, Resian is described by use of a simile. "She sunk her teeth into the flesh like a ferocious animal" (p.221). After the ordeal, the writer says, "thoughts came back like a remote collection" (p.223). This simile evokes a sympathetic attitude on the part of the reader. To show the caring, sacrificing and protective nature of Nabaru, the writer says, "Nabaru scooped Resian like a little baby" (p.246).

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