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Metonymy and metaphor in the fiction of John Cheever

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Metonymy and metaphor in the fiction of John Cheever

Shannon, Patrick (1998) Metonymy and metaphor in the fiction of John Cheever. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

John Cheever has been categorized by critics as an American realist. This paper challenges that assumption through the use of Roman Jakobsen's distinction between metaphoric and metonymic writing. In Jakobsen's poetics, the metonymic and metaphoric poles are opposed. The former describes discourse in which the objective world is depicted through contiguous phenomena, a mode of writing that Jakobsen ascribes to realism. The metaphoric pole reveals "equivalences" selected by the author to denote how phenomena are similar, not merely contiguous. Cheever's narratives show a gradual evolution away from metonymic writing toward metaphoric. As David Lodge has explained, this evolution can have a muted impact on the realistic text if the author draws his figurative language from the field of contiguities, or context, of a setting; Cheever's fiction illustrates this process. This paper also points out that Cheever's adoption of metaphoric prose occurred more rapidly after publication of his first novel, and that his use of metaphoric strategies allowed him to bring order to, or aestheticize, the narrative predicaments of his characters.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Shannon, Patrick
Pagination:iv, 101 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:English
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Furlani, Andre
ID Code:546
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:12
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:15
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