My favorite metaphors for night include:
- The night is a veil.
- The night is a blindfold.
Some good night similes are:
- As black as night.
- As lonely as the night.
Below are more metaphors and similes with explanations of each. If you’re after metaphor examples in Night by Elie Wiesel, jump to here.
Metaphors say Thing A is Thing B else. Thing B usually has features that are analogous to Thing A, which makes the metaphor work.
1. The Night is a Demon
The night-time is seen as something that’s scary for many people. We’ve got many stories of monsters in the night from The Monster Under the Bed to Where the Wild Things Are. With all these stories of the night being full of demons or monsters, you could create an extended metaphor where you simply say: the entire night is a demon that stalks me every time the sun comes down.
2. The Night is a Prison
If you feel as if you’re trapped-in by the night, you might call it a prison. It pushes you into the shadows and stops you from going outside. Because night-time forces you inside, you could call it a ‘prison’ where you’re trapped into a room with your own thoughts for 8 hours long.
3. The Night is a Veil
A veil is usually a cloth that covers your face and eyes. It also often prevents you from being able to see properly. So, it has come clear connections to the night, which also prevents you from using your eyesight properly.
So, you will often find people talking about “the veil of night”. It might ‘fall over the landscape’ (when dusk comes) or ‘slowly lift’ at dawn.
This metaphor is also the name of a book by Linda Howard.
4. The Night is a Coffin
This morbid metaphor relates night-time to death. It’s one that might be used someone who is incredibly afraid of darkness. They might feel like the night is as scary as death, or even makes them think deeply about death, leading them into a spiral of fear.
It might also be the case that this metaphor refers to the idea that, when you’re asleep, you appear to be dead – and because you sleep at night, you can say that the ‘night is a coffin’ to refer to the idea that at 2am we’ll all appear dead!
5. The Night is a Blindfold
This is a nice simple metaphor that even children can relate to. In fact, you could literally get a blindfold and place it over your (or your child’s) eyes to replicate the sense of night-time.
Because blindfolds render everything black, just like the night, you can easily make a figurative sentence out of this. You can say: “As the sun set, a blindfold of night was placed over our eyes, and we lay down to wait it out until the morning.”
6. The Night is an Industrial Freezer
In most parts of the world, the night gets a lot colder than the day. The sun literally warms up our days. So, without the sun, it starts getting cold outside. If you were to step outside in the middle of the night, it often feels like you’re stepping out into a big industrial freezer.
To turn this simile into a metaphor, you can say “I stepped outside into an industrial freezer that hadn’t been warmed by the sun in hours now.”
Night Personification Metaphors
A personification metaphor shows that the night is human-like. It gives the night the traits of humans or other animals that it couldn’t possibly have because it’s not a sentient being.
7. The Night Whispers
If you walk outside at 1am, you won’t hear loud noises like you can hear during the day. The nearby roads are usually still and there aren’t noises of children playing. Instead, there are often softer sounds. You might hear a cat scatter from tree to tree. Or, you might hear a breeze rustling the leaves in a tree.
These noises are more like whispers than loud booming noises of daytime.
This idea of the ‘whispering night’ gives the qualities of humans to night-time. Of course, non-sentient things cannot whisper. But, it feels like everything around you is whispering, so the personification metaphor works here, where you’re essentially saying the night is some sort of person.
8. The Night Torments
Another personification metaphor for the night is the idea that it is a tormentor. You will often find that the scariest things in horror movies happen when there is darkness all around. We also talk of monsters and demons in the night.
So, the idea of being tormented by the night gives it some sense of intentionality as if the night itself is a human (or demon!) out there making noises to scare you. It makes the floorboards creak and owls squeak and causes you to jump.
9. The Night Conquers the Day
The ebb and flow of the dark and night on earth can be described as a metaphorical never-ending battle between day and night. One ‘conquers’ another and takes over its shift until the other returns to win over for 12 more hours.
We have other metaphors for this pattern including:
- The ebb and flow of the sun and moon (this literally refers to the movement of tides on the beach).
- The moon taking over its shift from the sun.
10. The Night Lingers
A lingering night is one that seems to never end. Usually when we think of something lingering, we think of a person or even a dog that hangs around and won’t go away. But for the night to linger, we can imagine it as one that feels like it will never end.
Imagine that you’re awake at 3am and you know you can’t fall asleep again. So you’re sitting there on your couch looking out the window. It might feel like far too long until the dawn, though. You might sit there and wait and wait but it doesn’t end. It feels like (simile form) it’s lingering!
11. The Night Knows my Secrets
We often think our deepest thoughts when lying in our bed in complete darkness. The silence and stillness can cause our minds to wander to thoughts that we try to keep at bay during the day.
We’re implying that the night-time has the ability to know things. In other words, we’re giving it human-like traits.
An example of the use of this personification metaphor is in Poppy Z Brite’s quote: “The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.”
12. As Black as Night
In the middle of the night, it’s very dark. It’s so dark, in fact, that you can’t see anything at all. Everything is black. So, when we’re looking at something that’s deep black, we will often say that something is “black as night”.
Examples of things that are deep black that you could use for this simile include: black cats, a black paint job on a car, or even nail polish.
13. As Dead as the Night
The silence and stillness of the night makes us think of the stillness of death. So, we have a saying ‘dead as the night’, which is to say … very dead! You can also say the ‘dead of the night’, which means the stillest and most silent moments (say, around 3am).
Read Also: Death Metaphors
14. As Lonely as the Night
We often feel loneliest when everyone else is asleep and we’re lying in our bed in silence. There aren’t people moving around us and there certainly isn’t a social atmosphere when everyone is asleep.
So, if we were to try to relate someone’s loneliness to something that seems very lonely, you can say: “He was sitting there in the empty stadium feeling lonely as the night.”
Read Also: Loneliness Metaphors
15. A Night as Still as an Alpine Lake
Alpine lakes often have very still water that looks like it’s as flat as glass (there’s a simile for you!). You might come across a lake where the water perfectly reflects the surrounding mountains. There might also be no signs of any ripples or imperfections in the water. It’s perfectly still.
We can relate this to the night.
When everyone’s asleep, the noise subsides to a murmur and you can’t see any movement at all. There might not even be any flickering lights or sounds.
The night, like the lake, is perfectly still.
Read Also: Light Metaphors
Metaphors and Similes in Night by Elie Wiesel
1. Turned Dreams to Dust (Metaphor)
Wiesel writes of how his dreams were destroyed by the Nazis:
“…turned my dreams to dust.”
This is a metaphor. Of course, the dreams didn’t literally turn into dust. But they were rendered impossible and absolutely destroyed. You could imagine a physical thing that turns into dust no longer has any of its original shape or semblance. Similarly, turning a dream into dust means it no longer exists at all.
Read Also: Dream Metaphors
2. Turned my Life into One Long Night (Metaphor)
Wiesel writes of the first night in the camp:
“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night…”
This is a metaphor. Of course, his life wasn’t lived in night-time from that point onward. Nevertheless, his life took on the semblance of night from then on. It felt dark and hopeless and there was no sign of warmth or anything good anymore.
3. It Seemed Like an Eternity (Simile)
A simile I found in the book is this nice simple one:
“It seemed like an eternity to me.”
This is a simile. You can identify the ‘like’ in there, which shows explicit (rather than implicit) comparison between two things. His time in the camp is like an eternity because it feels like it will never end, just as eternity never ends.
4. Blurred as in Fog (Simile)
Another simple simile from the book is:
“Our senses were blunted; everything was blurred as in fog.”
This simile uses ‘as’ instead of ‘like’, which is another easy way to identify a simile. Here, he is saying that their senses (smell, taste, etc.) were like the fog. He’s invoking that sense that when you’re in a foggy place you can’t see through it and your eyesight is blurred.
Night time is widely referred to as a negative time. It’s when a lot of people feel alone and lost because their sense of sight is impaired and it’s usually very quiet.
So, a lot of the above night metaphors and similes highlight this negativity.
But if you’re not happy with any of the similes or metaphors presented here, you can always come up with your own!
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.