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“The chain coiled around the door of the elephant house reminded me of a huge snake set to guard a ruined palace in a thick forest. A few short months without its elephant had given the place an air of doom and desolation that hung there like a huge, oppressive rain cloud.” (459)

Haruki Murakami uses figurative language, such as metaphors, hyperboles, symbolism, and personification, in “The Elephant Vanishes.” Figurative language plays an important role in most literature including Haruki Murakami’s story. The figurative language in this story helps the reader become a part of the story and picture the events as if they have seen it, rather than just reading the description. Murakami’s use of figurative language engages the reader and keeps the attention of the reader throughout the story. I noticed it became easier to picture the story the more the author used metaphors as a method of comparison. For example, if Haruki Murakami had just written “The chain was wrapped around the door handle,” instead of the passage above, readers may have been less interested in the story. Although figurative language can become a version of filler words and burden to read if not used properly, I believe Haruki Murakami used figurative language in a way that reaches the reader on a deeper level. This leads the reader to become more invested in the story and causes the satisfaction and/or disappointed feeling at the story’s end.

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