Like nobody else: the secrets of metaphorical style

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Joyce Stavick


Metaphor is pervasive in literature, and metaphorical choices can be seen as central to what we call an author's 'style.' This study provides an illustrative overview, based on fifty-page prose excerpts from fourteen authors representing diverse genres and periods. Categorizing examples by frequency, syntactic form and meaning, a clear characteristic or combination of characteristics readily emerges for each novelist. Having covered these, we then look in more detail at the semantics of metaphor in Arundhati Roy's novel The God of Small Things. Finally, we hypothesize that an expanded study, considering the function of metaphors in text and their interre lationships, could yield an increasingly fine-grained measure of metaphorical style.


Stylistics; Metaphor; Discourse; Cognitive linguistics

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Revista Delta-Documentação e Estudos em Linguística Teórica e Aplicada ISSN 1678-460X