Comparison in the Time of Virus

March 21, 2020

Writers use comparisons to help readers revisit or understand unique life experiences.

Here are eleven comparative devices we know best, geared to our troubled times:














  1. Metaphor: COVID genomes are lethal ping-pong balls of contagion


  3. Simile (with personification): The virus crept into a cluster of friends, grinning like a long-lost buddy


  5. Onomatopoeia: ‘uhhhhhh!’ (gasping for air)


  7. Foreshadowing: Cassie held her cellphone close to her mouth, laughing while her college buddies grabbed her for a group hug. “Sorry, Grandma. I’m on the beach and spring break in full swing. Talk to you in a couple days. Love you.”


  9. Satire: Each hug brought the family closer.


  11. Oxymoron: COVID is a silent slayer, a tiny giant


  13. Symbolism: N95 facemask


  15. Hyperbole: A genome hijacked the world.


  17. Alliteration: A virus vexates the vulnerable


  19. Personification: COVID waited on the restaurant counter, gleeful when the next person slapped her hand on the surface.


  21. Paradox: Social distancing brings people together


Let’s keep comparing. New York’s 9/11 tragedy pales to the damage of COVID-19. Many more will die from the virus (in the millions), and humans must separate from each other in order to slow down the killing effects of this pandemic. When terrorists took down buildings on 9/11, Americans could gather to grieve, comfort each other, and in groups, large and small, strategize how to defeat evil forces. Today, we must separate from each other or the virus will win.


COVID Is the nazi we have to vigorously defeat before it gains power, yet we must battle it by staying home. When has ‘doing nothing’ been such a necessary, but powerful force?


Comparisons abound in this time of virus, and they help us make a vital point. Lock yourself down to free yourself of the disease.


Stay healthy, my reader and writer friends!


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