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  1. Compulsion is a mirror in which he who looks for long will see his inner self endeavoring to commit suicide —Kahlil Gibran
  2. Emotional antagonisms that lay in us like surly dogs at the end of a chain, ready to leap up and growl at a step —Wallace Stegner
  3. Emotional … like a third-rate opera singer —Fred Mustard Stewart
  4. Emotions buzzed and throbbed … like a pent-up bee —Elizabeth Bowen
  5. Emotions got cut off … like a broken string of beads —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
  6. Emotions … swarm in my head like a hive of puzzled bees —Gertrude Atherton
  7. Emotions to be appropriate … may be measuring them like potatoes, but it is better than slopping them about like water from a pail —E. M. Forster
  8. Emotion akin to a physical blow —Henrietta Weigel
  9. Fear and anger boiled up in my head like liquid air —Ross Macdonald
  10. Feeling full of wonder and illusion —like a Columbus or a pilgrim seeing the continent of his dreams take shape in the dusk for the first time —Richard Ford

    The feelings thus described are experienced as a plane comes in for a landing.

  11. Feelings bubbled in him like water from an underground spring —Paige Mitchell
  12. Feelings … call, like a buzzing of flies in autumn air —Wallace Stevens
  13. Feelings cross our flesh along nets of nerves, like a pattern of lightning flashes —Marguerite Yourcenar
  14. Feelings here slice right through like speed skates —Jill Robinson

    Robinson thus described the work of poet Amy Rothholz, building on her simile with, “Racing by with fierce, original passion.” The poet’s publisher extracted the simile from Robinson’s review to feature in an ad for the book.

  15. Feelings..jumbled together like ravelled wool —Frank Swinnerton
  16. Feel mushy and wet, like a pile of leaves after they have been rained on —Daphne Merkin
  17. Feels herself curling up like a jaundiced leaf —Alice Munro
  18. Feel the magic building like a gathering storm —W. P. Kinsella
  19. Felt as small and vulnerable as a calf on its first day of life —Linda West Eckhardt
  20. Felt crazy, stupid, as though, having believed a burglar was rummaging through the house, I had found only the family cat —Kent Nelson
  21. Felt … inadequate, as if I were a new understudy taking on a role that had been played before, and much more effectively —Alice McDermott
  22. Felt like a lifeline thrown out to someone —Mike Feder, New York Times, September 7, 1986

    Feder, a cafe story teller, thus explained how he began his career by telling stories about his day’s experiences to his housebound mother.

  23. Felt like a man in a Rembrandt, tinged brown with sorrow and wisdom —Laurie Colwin
  24. Felt like a man reprieved from the gallows —Wilfrid Sheed
  25. Felt like a man who had had a tooth out that had been hurting him for a long time —Leo Tolstoy
  26. Felt like an emotional invalid, like a balloon without the helium —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  27. (After my husband died I) felt like one of those spiraled shells washed up on the beach … no flesh, no life —Lynn Caine
  28. Felt shut off like a turtle inside her skin —Laura Furman
  29. Felt worry and joy flinging her about like a snowflake —Mary Hedin
  30. A foul feeling, like looking over the edge of the world —Jean Rhys
  31. Guilty and elated, as though I’d successfully committed a small theft —Christopher Isherwood
  32. Half smiles, half tears, like rain in sun —John Greenleaf Whittier See Also: TEARS, SMILES
  33. Heart expanded like bellows —Laurie Colwin
  34. His senses nagged at him like pampered babies —Stephen Crane
  35. Inhibitions gave way like an earth dam collapsing in front of a winter flood —Graham Masterson
  36. Isolation, frustration and sometimes fear run like a leitmotif through our lives —Philip Taubman, New York Times Magazine, September 21, 1986
  37. It [his emotion for a woman] struck him like sickness —H. E. Bates
  38. Love and emptiness in us are like the sea’s ebb and flow —Kahlil Gibran
  39. My emotions flowered in me like a divine revelation —André Gide
  40. My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels —The Holy Bible/Psalms
  41. Old feelings gather fast upon me like vultures round their prey —Emily Brontë
  42. Our feelings have edges and spines and prickles like cactus, or porcupines —Laurie Colwin

    Colwin is likening the cactus/porcupine edges and spines to the feelings of two lovers.

  43. Our feelings penetrate us like a poison of undetectable nature —Anais Nin
  44. Pride and anger seemed like overblown spent clouds of thunder —John Greenleaf Whittier
  45. Profound feelings … swept through and racked his being like gusts of fire —George Garrett
  46. (A feeling of) relief circles us like a spring breeze —Richard Ford
  47. Relief courses through me like cool water —Marge Piercy,
  48. Relief had come in like a warm and welcome flood —Carlos Baker
  49. Relieved [after things have been put right] … like they lifted a concrete block out of my belly —John Updike
  50. Rolled in self-pity and self-hatred like a hot sulfur spring —Marge Piercy
  51. Self-hatred living in him like a sick dog in a cellar —Bernard Malamud
  52. Sensations gave like snowslides in him —Larry Woiwode
  53. Sensations … whirling about him like snowflakes —Willa Cather
  54. (My feelings) snapped like a glass pipette —Diane Wakoski
  55. Stirred an emotion … like the birth of a butterfly within a cocoon —Adela Rogers St. Johns
  56. Sudden relief, like a rush of tears, came to her —Nadine Gordimer
  57. (Their hearts were open and) sweet sensations flowed in them like honey —Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  58. Temperament, like liberty, is important despite how many crimes are committed in its name —Louis Kronenberger
  59. Temper like a bed of banked coals waiting to be fired into roaring flame by a spill of brandy —Davis Grubb
  60. They [true feelings] gathered around me like a mist, whose shape can be seen as it approaches, but not when it is on you —L. P. Hartley
  61. Too moved to even applaud … as if the air had been sucked out of the room —Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times, September 7, 1986

    The performer who thus moved his audience was a cafe story teller.

  62. Treats his emotions … as vermin to be crushed in traps or poisoned with bait —Marge Piercy
  63. Truth and jealousy, like a team of plow horses, came crashing into the fragile barn of his illusions —Louis Auchincloss
  64. A vague uneasy stirring plagued her like some mental indigestion —Josephine Tey
  65. A warm feeling like cocoa on a cold night —Jean Stafford
  66. Wore his confidence like a tailored suit —Donald McCaig
  67. Wore sorrow and anger like a worn-out coat and would not throw it away —Belva Plain
  68. The young soldier’s heart was … like fire in his chest —D. H. Lawrence
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Emotions are traditionally regarded by psychologists as a separate class of mental occurrences: I am, of course, not concerned to deny the obvious fact that they have characteristics which make a special investigation of them necessary.
appreciation of each literary work as a product of Fine Art, appealing with peculiar power both to our minds and to our emotions, not least to the sense of Beauty and the whole higher nature.
The quick glance of Delafield not only watched, but easily detected, both the rapid transitions and the character of these opposite emotions. Under the sudden influence of passions, that probably will not escape our readers, he could not forbear uttering, in a tone in which pique might have been too apparent.
Though the stranger was handsome, his appearance had not influenced her; the soft pity in a woman's heart for miseries that are not ignoble had stifled in Ginevra all other emotions; but to hear a cry of vengeance, to find in that proscribed being an Italian soul, devotion to Napoleon, Corsican generosity!--ah!
I cannot admit that it is proper to experience a mysterious reluctance to look your own watch in the face and to cherish in my presence, without explanation, painful emotions which are denied to me, and which are none of my business."
The entire ship's crew were undergoing a nervous excitement, of which I can give no idea: they could not eat, they could not sleep--twenty times a day, a misconception or an optical illusion of some sailor seated on the taffrail, would cause dreadful perspirations, and these emotions, twenty times repeated, kept us in a state of excitement so violent that a reaction was unavoidable.
The first readers of The Origin of Species accepted it with their reason; but their emotions, which are the ground of conduct, were untouched.
The light was not strong enough to render their features distinct, though it was quite evident that they were governed by very different emotions. While one stood erect and firm, prepared to meet his fate like a hero, the other bowed his head, as if palsied by terror or stricken with shame.
It was only one phase of the multitudinous emotions which had assailed her.
A veil was beginning to be muffled about her, in which she could behold only him, and live only in his thoughts and emotions. His glance, as he fastened it on the young girl, grew involuntarily more concentrated; in his attitude there was the consciousness of power, investing his hardly mature figure with a dignity that did not belong to its physical manifestation.
Finding her own sensations exactly like those described in the book as symptoms of the direst diseases, she put it by in alarm, and took up a novel, which was free from the fault she had found in the lectures, inasmuch as none of the emotions it described in the least resembled any she had ever experienced.
"Therefore you love me a little, I hope," replied Athos, in a tone of emotion.