VictimisationMetaphors in Margaret Atwood s novel Surfacingby Berit Vike
Metaphors have long ceased to be regarded as purely linguistic expressions, and today metaphors are also a conceptual phenomenon, bridging language and thought. As metaphors in literature are elements in a specific discourse, this thesis offers an analysis of how Margaret Atwood exploits them to influence our interpretation of her novel. Approximately 350 metaphorical expressions have been investigated. The specific form of metaphors enables Atwood to establish a duality to an extent that would hardly have been possible using just ordinary non-figurative expressions. In Surfacing, there is, on the one hand, the nameless narrator s quest for her lost father in the wilderness of Canada, on the other hand, there is the emotional world of the narrator. These emotions usually have strong negative associations, and in this way Atwood creates an omnipresent feeling of uneasiness and danger. Frequently humans and also their emotions are compared to or forced to share qualities with insects, reptiles, and amphibians. As Atwood s metaphors are extremely unconventional and innovative, we readily visualise her expressions, and consequently they have a significant impact on our understanding of the novel. The reader is constantly invited to imagine shared properties between man and various animals because Atwood wants us to see how man victimises himself and his environment. In order to survive, mankind must come to terms with its own victimisation and save itself and the earth from exploitation. Apart from the history and theories of metaphors my thesis offers a macro-level analysis of the metaphors with a starting point in the action itself as well as a micro-level analysis of a selection of metaphorical expressions.