Nagornaya A.V., Nwankwo J.Ch. Metaphor as a Means of Representing First-Hand Cancer Experience in English Teen Sick-Lit

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2023.4.7

Alexandra V. Nagornaya

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, School of Foreign Languages, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Staraya Basmannaya St, 21/4, 105006 Moscow, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6821-0835

James Chike Nwankwo

Postgraduate Student, School of Philology, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Staraya Basmannaya St, 21/4, 105006 Moscow, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0343-2883


Abstract. The present paper is a contribution to the study of cancer metaphors in contemporary English. It focuses on the ways cancer is conceptualized in teen sick-lit, a relatively new genre of children's literature which presents stories of severe illnesses that afflict teenagers, cancer being the most important of them. The analysis is based on four novels that employ the first-person narrative mode. It rests upon the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, utilizing such specific research instruments as the Career of Metaphor Theory (B. Bowdle and D. Gentner) and the concept of metaphorical creativity (Z. Kövecses). The novelty of the research angle is that the paper takes a differentiated approach towards cancer metaphor analysis, first identifying thematic groups relevant to cancer experience and then tracing patterns of metaphor use within each group. The four groups presented in the study are metaphors of cancer itself, cancer patients, diagnostic procedures and treatments, and physical and emotional conditions of patients. It is proved that there are metaphors that demonstrate a strong inclination to reflect only one aspect of cancer experience. Thus, the actively promoted journey metaphor appears suitable only for conceptualizing procedures and treatments, while war metaphor proves versatile. Further on, the paper analyzes instances of the war metaphor use proving that far from being obsolete, it has a considerable conceptual and communicative potential and can be developed further.

Key words: teen sick-lit, metaphor, Conceptual Metaphor Theory, cancer experience, cancer metaphors, war metaphor.

Citation. Nagornaya A.V., Nwankwo J.Ch. Metaphor as a Means of Representing First-Hand Cancer Experience in English Teen Sick-Lit. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2023, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 86-100. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2023.4.7

Metaphor as a Means of Representing First-Hand Cancer Experience in English Teen Sick-Lit by Nagornaya A.V., Nwankwo J.Ch. is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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