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I didn't understand the meaning of this sentence -

Then, with the suddenness of night-time eruption in a chicken-coop, a group of women burst out of the fort.

I guess night-time eruption means the fall of night. But what it has to do with chicken-coop, when there is no mention or occurrence of such thing in the context?

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This sentence contains two parts. One part literal description, one part figurative speech.
So let's dissect this:

  1. Plain text:

    Then,[...], a group of women burst out of the fort.

-> Take this literally: Some women leaving a place in a hasty manner.

  1. Figurative text:

    ...with the suddenness of night-time eruption in a chicken-coop...

-> Consider this image (that describes the behaviour of the women):
Chicken, asleep in their coop. A fox sneaks inside. Suddenly, all hens wake up and start screetching and flapping. General mayhem ensues. -> There you have your "night-time eruption in the chicken-coop".

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    Very nice imagery in your description. Also, it might be worth explicitly explaining that "night-time" describes the time that the eruption of noise and mayhem occurred because it seems to be a point of confusion in the original question. – ColleenV Dec 15 '14 at 21:10

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