METAPHOR LITB4 AQA Critical Anthology pp.8-10; 13-14.
What is a metaphor? ‘…us[ing] language to refer to something other than what it was originally applied to, or what it ‘literally’ means, in order to suggest some resemblance, or make a connection between two things.’
What is meant by ‘conventional metaphors’? Conventional metaphors are all the metaphors that we use, every day, without even realising.
Examples of conventional metaphors ‘I can’t digest this much information.’ ‘I’m a night owl.’ ‘I’ve got a pile of marking to plough through before I leave.’ ‘Oh stop fishing for compliments and go home.’ ‘Would you like a hand carrying that enormous pile of exercise books?’
What do the conventional metaphors below have in common? ‘House prices are on the rise.’ ‘My income has gone down.’ ‘Unemployment is up on this time last year.’ ‘Exports are down.’ ‘The number of homeless people is currently at an all-time high.’
Exactly. Well done. They all suggest that MORE is UP. • The more of something there is, the higher up it is. • The less of something there is, the lower down is. • To gain is to climb. • To lose is to fall.
What about these? The baby arrived at 6 o’clock this morning! I don’t know where I’m heading. My life has no direction at the moment. You can’t just go through life with your eyes closed! I set out to be a doctor, but I liked English so much that I became an English teacher! After university I was at a crossroads, and I didn’t know which way to go. You have to move on and forget about what has happened. His life took an unexpected direction after he met her. My father passed away last night. He went in his sleep.
Exactly. Well done. They all suggest LIFE is a JOURNEY. • We’re all on ‘a road’. • We’re going somewhere. • Are we? • How accurate are these metaphors? • What do they do to the way we perceive the world? • How did they come about? • WHY?
"There are other languages in which MORE IS UP and LESS IS DOWN, but none in which the reverse is true, where MORE IS DOWN and LESS IS UP. Why not? Contemporary theory postulates that the MORE IS UP metaphor is grounded in experience--in the common experiences of pouring more fluid into a container and seeing the level go up, or adding more things to a pile and seeing the pile get higher. These are thoroughly pervasive experiences; we encounter them every day in our lives."(George Lakoff, "The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor," Metaphor and Thought, ed. by A. Ortony. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993)
Metaphors are important. • They structure what we think, what we say, what we do. • Imagine a culture in which arguments were viewed as dances, instead of battles. • Imagine a society in which life wasn’t viewed as a journey. It just was. • Imagine a world where the ‘right’ way was down, instead of up. • Everything would be upside down. Everything would be different.
Watch and make notes on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cU56SWXHFw