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Arnold J. Toynbee Writing Styles in A Study of History

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Simile and Analogy

Toynbee frequently makes use of similes and analogies in which two apparently dissimilar things are compared. The purpose of these similes is to enable the reader to visualize the concept that is being presented and make it easier to grasp. One extended simile recurs at several points in the book, and that is Toynbee's comparison of civilizations to humans climbing a mountain. Primitive civilizations are like people lying asleep on a ledge with a precipice below and a precipice above. No further progress is possible for them. Arrested civilizations are like climbers who have reached a certain height but now find themselves blocked; they can go neither forward nor backward. Civilizations that are ready to grow, however, are like climbers who have just risen to their feet and are beginning to climb the face of the cliff. They cannot stop until they either fall back to...

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This section contains 787 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Study of History Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
A Study of History from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.