What is it about?

Animation films have wonderful opportunities to tell stories that other media do not have, or do not have to the same extent. Animation moreover is not bound by realistic conventions, so it can take considerable freedom in the way it conveys meaning. In this paper, I examine how the process of trying to find one's true identity is communicated by metaphorically comparing it to finding one's home in animation films that draw on visuals, language, music and sound.

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Why is it important?

The metaphor "searching for one's identity is looking for a home" is a subtype of the more general metaphor "pursuing a goal is going on a journey." This latter metaphor is one of the most important and pervasive metaphors that human beings use to conceive of goal-directed behaviour.


Analyzing the "metaphors we live by" (Lakoff and Johnson 1980) in the under-researched medium of animation teaches us more both about metaphorical thinking and about the ways in which animation may have unique opportunities to convey meaning. Linking metaphor theory and animation film will thus shed more light on "embodied cognition."

Dr Charles Forceville
Universiteit van Amsterdam

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This page is a summary of: Metaphor and symbol, Review of Cognitive Linguistics, November 2013, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/rcl.11.2.03for.
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