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Title: A mystic's path : a cognitive linguistic analysis of the short fiction of Kate Chopin (1850-1904)
Author: Shekar, Nawal Jaafar
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 1274
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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Kate Chopin (1850-1904) is often viewed as a naturalistic writer who 'drifted away from Catholicism' in order to seek God in nature (Ryan, 2013, p.220, see also Seyersted, 2006, pp.22-23). However, Chopin's short stories, which receive little critical attention, suggest a different perspective. This dissertation aims, by analyzing Chopin's language, to show that her treatment of nature and natural objects—including the human being—is not in opposition to Christianity. Rather the patterns of her language, especially her metaphors, reflect her interest in Christian Mysticism. This study will analyze Chopin's language based on the cognitive theory of Conceptual Blending by Fauconnier and Turner, who state that the known world is a set of mental spaces that are blended (or compressed) by vital relations (2003). This cognitive linguistic analysis will explain Chopin's world-view, which accommodates the unseen as well as the seen. This study will argue that Chopin's world-view, which is also present in her marked linguistic style and cognitive structure, is a blend of two mental spaces (or frames): the outer space (of God's manifestations) and a mystical inner space (the world of God). The network mappings between the two spaces are mainly vital relations of cause-effect links. This world-view, as well as the network mappings, will be explored via the different learning processes and mystical experiences which Chopin's characters encounter in her short fiction. The more cognitively capable of learning a character is, the more able he or she is to acquire spiritual understanding, suggesting that for Chopin all kinds of learning may lead to mystical revelation. Through close readings of Chopin's short fiction, this study will discuss the construction of mental spaces and the vital relations and mappings between the elements from the cognitive and/or the neural perspective. To Chopin, these elements, are manifestations of beauty, love and, hence, God.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available