It’s like a small firework has suddenly detonated in his brain.

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "It’s like a small firework has suddenly detonated in his brain." means in the following sentences:

Over the years I’ve learned to spot the smallest signs. The slight slackening of his mouth, the drooping of his eyelids. I’ve had to learn because I know that the next stage isn’t pretty. It’s like a small firework has suddenly detonated in his brain.

- Lucy Foley, The Guest List, Chapter 16

This is a thriller novel published in 2020 in the United Kingdom. One hundred and fifty guests gathered at some remote and deserted fictional islet called Inis an Amplóra off the coast of the island of Ireland to celebrate the wedding between Jules (a self-made woman running an online magazine called The Download) and Will (a celebrity appearing in a TV show program called Survive the Night). The day before the actual wedding day, at the rehearsal dinner, Hannah, the wife of Charlie (Jules' friend) tries to deter her husband from joining others' drinking game, because she knows he changes into a different person when he is drunk.

In this sentence, I would like to ask your opinion about two things:
(1) Does "it" here refer to "the next stage" (probably the next stage in the drunkenness, I guess) in the previous sentence? Or is it just a dummy subject...?
(2) I would very much like to understand the metaphor here, but I have no idea... :( I am thinking, if a firework detonates in someone's brain, that means that person's life is at risk, doesn't it? Perhaps it is because of my lack of imagination, but I just wanted to ask you whether there is an expression/concept regarding fireworks in the brain and drunkenness known to English speakers.

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    (1) Does "it" here refer to "the next stage" (probably the next stage in the drunkenness, I guess)
    :thumbsup:

    The firework in their brain does not endanger the person's life, but it is sudden and it considerably disrupts their thinking and behaviour. This is not a common metaphor.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Uncle Jack,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    So she means, when Charlies goes on to the next stage of drunkenness, his thinking and behaviour are disrupted, just like a firework detonating in the brain.
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     
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