In Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees, Frank’s relentless search for a missing frying pan acts as an extended metaphor for Silvia’s relentless search for a perfect place. I am a big fan of this particular literary device, which is a metaphor developed at great length occurring frequently in or throughout a work. Extended metaphors can be very effective in strengthening the theme, characterization and plot of a novel. In my current novel, Discovery of an Eagle I am using this device. Cosmo’s quest of being able to make the jump from his humdrum existence into a more fulfilling life parallels his goal of getting his sister to Portland. That is, getting to the other side of the country is a metaphor for his getting to the other side of himself.
Getting to the other side of the country is scary for him, just as leaving his familiar lifestyle is scary to him. He resists getting to Portland as he resist leaving his old way of life and going for something more. But another half of him wants to move forward in his life, as well as move forward on the road. So his making it to Portland takes on a great significance because it is symbolic of his being able to transform and go after the life that he truly wants. He knows that if he returns to his old way of living, he will not be happy. Because of the importance of his being able to achieve happiness, completing the journey raises the stakes for Cosmo, which makes the reader want to turn the page.