The nature and placement of metaphorical language in Henry James's The wings of the dove


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The nature and placement of metaphorical language in Henry James's The wings of the dove
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Jacobson, Judith Irvin, 1936-
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 382-394).
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by Judith Irvin Jacobson.
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Copyright by

Judith Irvin Jacobson



I am grateful to all those members of the University

of Florida faculty who served on my Supervisory Committee.

I am particularly appreciative of the contribution made

by Dr. Richard Hiers and Dr. Motley Deakin in their care-

ful and critical reading of the manuscript. To Dr. Ben

Pickard, who acted as my director, I owe a debt of

gratitude greater than can ever be fully acknowledged.

His unfailing enthusiasm for the project, incisive criti-

cism, and scholarly and humane approach to the diffi-

culties encountered have rendered the long process of

research and writing much less trying than it otherwise

might have been. Credit is also finally, and especially

due to my family who have given generously of their

time and moral support.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ..................................... ii

ABSTRACT .................................................. vi

INTRODUCTION .......................................... 1

A GENERAL PERSPECTIVE ................... 8

Approaches to Metaphor: Theory
and Practice ............................ 8
The Distinction Between Image
and Metaphor ........................... 19
Metaphor and Total Verbal Texture ...... 23
Approaches to the Study of Imagery
and Metaphor in Henry James ............ 29

CONTENT: A NEW APPROACH ............... 44

Methodology ............................ 45
Definition of Metaphor ................. 52
Definition of Metaphorical Placement ... 61
The Discrimination of Contexts ......... 64
Definitions ....................... ..... 80
Noun-Simple (NS) ................... 80
Noun-Expanded (NE) ................. 82
Noun-Clich6s (NC) .................. 84
Verb-Simple (VS) ................... 84
Verb-Expanded (VE) ................. 85
Verb-Clich6s (VC) ................... 86
Adjective (Adverb) (Adj/Adv) ....... 87
Personification (Pers) .............. 88

CHAPTER 3 ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER I .................. 91

Distribution of Metaphorical Types ..... 91
Narrator's Discourse ............... 92
The Representation of Consciousness. 117
Dialogue ........................... 121

The Relationship Between Metaphorical
Placement and Characters and Events ....


Narrator's Discourse ...................
The Representation of Consciousness ....
Dialogue ...............................


Narrator's Discourse ...................
The Representation of Consciousness ....
Metaphors of Suspension ............
Metaphors of Passivity .............
Metaphors of Impersonality .........


Narrator's Discourse ...................
The Representation of Consciousness ....
Dialogue ; ..............................

CONCLUSION ..........................................

APPENDICES ..........................................

OF THE DOVE ............................

AND TYPE ...............................

LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED .............................

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Judith Irvin Jacobson

June, 1976

Chairman: John B. Pickard
Major Department: English

Previous criticism of James's use of metaphor has

focused primarily on selected and striking figures gener-

ally related to thematic patterns. This study analyzes

the total metaphoric content of Chapters I, XV, XXX, and

XXXVIII of The Wings of the Dove to determine the grammati-

cal nature, context, distribution, and function of all

instances of figurative language.

Metaphor is defined as any words) which describe

one realm of experience in terms of another and transfer

the meanings and connotations of a figurative to a literal

term. Eight metaphorical types, depending on the part of

speech which begins the metaphor and its degree of expan-

sion, have been identified: simple noun, expanded noun,

noun cliche; simple verb, expanded verb, verb cliche;

adjective (adverb) and personification. Context is de-

fined as one of three modes of discourse: narration, the

representation of consciousness, and dialogue.

Analysis of the numerical distribution of metaphors

by type and context reveals that simple noun and verb

metaphors occur with some regularity in all contexts.

The frequency and placement of the remaining six types

are highly variable. Expanded noun and verb metaphors and

personifications occur most often in-consciousness, less

in narration, and least often in dialogue. Verb cliches

occur most frequently in dialogue. Noun cliches and ad-

jective metaphors occur much more often in dialogue and

consciousness than in narration.

The increase or decrease of a specific type in

any one context is directly related to the characters

and events represented in each chapter and the general

effect created by this type. Expanded verb metaphors

occur frequently in consciousness, for example, where they

function to convey the dynamic process of thought and

emotional response. The number of expanded verb metaphors

employed in narration shows a marked increase in two par-

ticular chapters, however, where this metaphoric type is

utilized to describe the process of emotional and psycho-

logical interaction between characters from a more objective

point of view than that available to the recording con-



The distribution of simple and expanded figures

in particular contexts also serves as a means of creating

emphasis. The greater use of expanded metaphors in con-

sciousness and simpler structures in narration and dialogue

is one of the methods by which James's characteristic

emphasis on internal awareness of events rather than the

events themselves is both achieved and maintained.

The relationship between metaphor and context

functions in two basic ways: (1) to reinforce particular

effects through similar metaphors used in more than one

mode of discourse, and (2) to create an opposition be-

tween characters by a marked increase of metaphors applied

to a more active and dominant character in narration and

dialogue and a complementary increase of metaphors applied

to a more passive character in consciousness.

The analysis of total metaphoric content reveals

that James's use of metaphor is not limited to the strik-

ing and well-developed figures long noted in Jamesian

criticism. When the number of simple noun and verb

metaphors (150) in all chapters analyzed is combined with

the number of generally simplistic adjectives (27) and

cliches (35), the total number of simple metaphoric types

(212) is actually greater than the total number of expanded

structures (166), i.e., expanded nouns and verbs (151) and

personifications (15).


The frequent use of ordinary words such as taking,

meeting, turning, and working in these simple metaphoric

types is striking. Metaphoric cliches similarly use or-

dinary language in highly effective ways. The accumulation

and mutual reinforcement of figures utilizing the strongly

physical connotations of the language of ordinary speech

constitute an important and previously unrecognized com-

ponent of Jamesian prose. These figures balance his more

frequently noted abstract diction and complex sentences.


Close analysis of the language of literary texts

has assumed increasing validity since its introduction by

the "New Criticism." Studies of diction, syntax, grammar,

sentence length and various other aspects of verbal tex-

ture have attempted to discover some of the essential ways

in which words work together. While no study of this type

can ever be comprehensive, each approach is only a way

of exploring the complex structure of the work of art,

there is demonstrated value in the attempt to come to

terms with what R. J. Kaufman has described as "what is

peculiarly there in the unique verbal network of the poem

or fiction."1

My particular focus on language in this study is

on the device of metaphor as it is utilized in The Wings

of the Dove, a major novel in the James canon. Working

with representative chapters in the novel, I have attempted

to show that James uses metaphor in a pervasive and sys-

tematic way to create the total impression of characters

1"Metaphorical Thinking and the Scope of Litera-
ture," College English, 30 (Oct. 1968), 47.

and events, to control reader evaluation of character, and

to direct our perception, on a moral level, of the meaning

and significance of the novel's action. I have worked

particularly with different types of metaphor as they are

used in the three basic contexts of narration, the repre-

sentation of consciousness, and direct speech, and the way

in which the interaction of metaphor and context contributes

to these functions. In locating the actual existence of

metaphorical language in the novel, I have also attempted

to go beyond those striking and clearly significant meta-

phors which constitute rather obvious metaphoric pattern-

ing to discern the total metaphoric content and the subtle

and sometimes barely perceptible working of figurative

language throughout the text. Central and key metaphors

have not been excluded as objects of study, of course, but

they are considered as only the more striking examples of

James's consistent use of metaphor to create both the sub-

stance and meaning of the experience recorded in the novel.

The use of metaphor to create emphasis and convey

meaning, through the connotations and associations of the

figurative terms used, has long been recognized in criti-

cism. The more fundamental and pervasive working of

metaphor simply to present and give substance to the ele-

ments of the fictive world represented in the novel has

not, however, been given equal critical attention. Yet

it is obvious that in order to even contemplate a novel's

theme, or the intricate designs of verbal repetition, the

reader must first perceive the novel's characters and

events as somehow "real" and "actual." He must feel and

apprehend their contour and shape and believe in them

before anything in the novel really matters. The words

"real" and "actual" are perhaps inadequate to the task

given them in making this point, but they are the best

general terms we have. Witness Shakespeare's need for

metaphor when he is talking about the same thing.

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
(A Midsummer Night's Dream, V.i. 15-18)

And the briefest recollection of the lack of "reality" in

some novel which has failed to convince us will perhaps

convey, from another angle, what is meant by the "real"

and "actual" in fiction. In any case, the word "reality"

is that used by James himself.

It goes without saying that you will not
write a good novel unless you possess
the sense of reality: but it will be
difficult to give you a recipe for calling
that sense into being. Humanity is immense,
and reality has a myriad forms; the most
one can affirm is that some of the flowers
of fiction have the odor of it, and others
have not 2

And the matter can perhaps rest there on his authority.

"The Art of Fiction," The Future of the Novel,
Essays on the Art of Fiction, ed. Leon Edel (New York,
1956), p. 12.

The important point here, and one that is particularly

related to the emphasis in this study on total metaphoric

content as opposed to selected and clearly significant

metaphoric patterns, is that the "sense of reality" so

valued by James is often "called into being" through the

power of figurative language to concretize and render vivid

and precise the experience recorded in the novel. The

capacity of metaphor to provide "solidity of specification,"

to make an essentially fictive being actually come to life

in our imaginative recreation of the novel's action, is

one of the most significant aspects of this linguistic

device. And it does not depend, for its effectiveness,

on elaborate or striking figures. When James describes

Milly Theale's response to the central image of the dove

given her by Kate, for example, he uses a metaphor which

is so simple in both form and diction, "She met it on the

instant as she would have met the revealed truth" (I,

309),3 that we are scarcely aware that it is a metaphor.

And yet this figurative use of the verb meet to describe a

psychological confrontation in terms of an actual physical

encounter gives us a sense of the effect of Kate's words

on Milly, of the force of Milly's recognition and acceptance

Henry James, The Wings of the Dove, The Modern
Library (New York, 1937). All subsequent references to
the novel are from this text. (Emphasis supplied.)

of the truth and implications of the image applied to her,

which no literal paraphrase can approximate.

It is the presence and continual working of this

kind of metaphor in conjunction with the more striking and

elaborate figures in the total verbal texture of the novel,

and the relationship of the metaphors used to the context

in which they occur, that the method of analysis developed

in this study attempts to discover and understand. The

impulse to approach metaphor from a broader and more com-

prehensive perspective than those encountered in my own

reading of criticism on both James and other writers de-

rived from my feeling that certain unexplained effects

of a literary text, such as its power to generate emotional

response or to control our evaluation of characters and

events, might be explained by reference to particular

stylistic devices. Metaphor seemed an appropriate device

for study because of its vital capacity to both present

and evaluate experience.

The analytical method developed to implement this

approach is, in an important sense, the most significant

contribution made by this study. While its actual demon-

stration in the analysis of representative chapters of

The Wings of the Dove provides insight into the functional

use of metaphor in this novel, its larger significance

lies in the discovery of a way of looking at and talking

about metaphor which leads to a deeper understanding of

the way in which figurative language operates, on a word

by word, page by page level, in the complex texture of

James's prose. This approach to metaphor, which has not

been previously attempted, suggests a broad range of pos-

sibilities for further and more general study of the methods

used by James to create the impressions of character and

events, the relationship between metaphor and theme, the

chronological development of this aspect of his style, and

the use'of metaphor as a criterion for the comparative

analysis of different writers.

The fundamental importance of the analytical

method developed to examine this aspect of James's style

requires both some preliminary explanation of the rationale

behind this approach to the nature and placement of meta-

phoric language and a full explication of the method it-

self. Because metaphor is so fundamental to literature,

and so complex, this rationale also needs to be set within

the larger framework of general approaches to metaphor and

related to previous criticism in this area. This general

perspective is provided in the opening chapter of the study

which focuses on theoretical approaches to metaphor and

previous studies of imagery and metaphor in James's fiction.

Critical writing on this particular aspect of The Wings

of the Dove is summarized in the review of criticism on

the novel contained in the bibliographic essay in Appendix

A. Chapter 2 provides a full explication of the analytical


method developed and used in this study and Chapters 3-6

demonstrate this method in the analysis of selected chap-

ters from the novel.



Approaches to Metaphor: Theory and Practice

Although it is possible to define metaphor as a

rhetorical device, a juxtaposition of words to signify

something other than their literal or normative meanings,

it has become increasingly obvious that its use involves

a great deal more than rhetoric. The older view of meta-

phor as decorative or detachable has been supplanted by

an awareness that metaphor is closely related to the very

process of thinking and seeing and, ultimately, of knowing.

Philosophers, scientists, linguists, and literary

critics have all shared in the development of this enlarged

concept of metaphor. They call attention, in various ways

and from various perspectives, to its importance in cog-

nition, in value perception and communication, and in the

essential process of giving form and shape, in language,

to insights and conceptions for which there are no direct,

verbal equivalents. Writing a philosophical defense of

metaphor in scientific thought, Max Black opposes directly

the concept of metaphor as "decoration."

Metaphorical thought is a distinctive mode
of achieving insight, not to be construed
as an ornamental substitute for plain

The most telling argument in Black's defense is the real

loss of "cognitive content" in the literal paraphrase of


The relevant weakness of the literal para-
phrase is not that it may be tiresomely
prolix or boringly explicit (or deficient
in qualities of style): it fails to be
a translation because it fails to give
the insight that the metaphor did. (p. 46)

Speaking from the literary critic's point of view, Philip

Wheelwright emphasizes the same sense of the value of

metaphor as a cognitive instrument: "Metaphor is a medium

of fuller, riper knowing; not merely a prettification of

the already given."2

While the cognitive function of metaphor is gen-

erally recognized, its capacity to not only present but

also evaluate experience is of particular concern to liter-

ature. Scientific and philosophical concepts are intended,

though they may not always succeed, as models or paradigms

of an objective impersonal reality. Literature, focusing

as it does on the individual and particular, necessarily

Models and Metaphors: Studies in Language and
Philosophy (Ithaca, N. Y., 1962), p. 237.

The Burning Fountain, A Study in the Language
of Symbolism (Bloomington, Ind., 1954), p. 97.

presents a personal experience of reality in which subjec-

tive feelings and values both constitute and determine

content. In a recent analysis of the transformation of

reality into art, John Hagopian distinguishes the work of

art from rational discourse.

Forms abstracted in art are not those of
rational discourse, which serve to sym-
bolize public "fact," but complex forms
capable of symbolizing the dynamics of
subjective experience, the pattern of
vitality, sentience, feeling, and emo-
tion. Such forms cannot be revealed by
means of progressive generalization. .
A work of art is and remains specific.
It is "this" and not "this kind"; unique
instead of exemplary. .3

He then goes on to describe art, in general, as "man's

way, his only way, of making models of value-charged

experiences for contemplation." In literature, he con-

tinues, man's "chief means of doing so is by means of

metaphor--including the expanded metaphors we call novels."

This relation between metaphor and the communication of

value confers on metaphor a unique significance. As

Hagopian suggests, "metaphors are among man's highest

achievements in being presentational and value-charged"

(pp. 53-54).

That metaphors not only present but also evaluate

their subjects, and these may be persons, events, or

"Symbol and Metaphor in the Transformation of
Reality into Art," Comparative Literature, 20 (1968), 52.

perceptions of innumerable variety, is not, of course,

a discovery of recent criticism. John Middleton Murry,

writing in 1927, states, for example, "All metaphor and

simile can be described as the analogy by which the human

mind explores the universe of quality and charts the

non-measureable world."4 In simpler form, and with the

valuing process implicit rather than directly stated, Ruth

Herschberger asserts, "Metaphor does make statements about

the world."5

The importance of metaphor in literature, deriving

from these functions, has also been amply recognized.

Noting the earlier view of metaphor as purely decorative,

Wellek and Warren's Theory of Literature opposes "our own

view" which

sees the meaning and function of liter-
ature as centrally present in metaphor
and myth. There are such activities as
metaphoric and mythic thinking, a think-
ing by means of metaphors, a thinking
in poetic narrative or vision.6

What is new in Hagopian's article is the expressed convic-

tion of the unique importance of metaphor for modern writers

"Metaphor," in Essays on Metaphor, comp. Warren
A. Shibles (Whitewater, Wisc., 1972), p. 33.

"The Structure of Metaphor," Kenyon Review, 5
(Summer, 1943),

6Theory of Literature, 3rd ed. (New York, 1956),
p. 193.

deriving from our lack of any generally accepted system of

values or common agreement on general terms. He suggests

that our realities are largely personal and that metaphor

has become a virtual necessity for the artist who wishes

to communicate his individual values and perceptions.

Hagopian focuses clearly on this central issue.

The crux of the matter is that modern
writers do not present their visions of
reality--even of social reality--dis-
cursively. Instead they percent verbal
analogues of the immediately felt experi-
ence of such reality by a rich use of
image, symbol, and metaphor. (p. 52)

Metaphor is, he goes on to say, one of the

most important factors that make literary
productions works of art rather than
merely fictional history and sociology;
that is, those factors which charge expe-
rience with human feeling rather than
merely comment on it. (p. 52)

Given the modern writer's7 special need and use of

metaphor, it is important to ask what approaches to the

While Henry James may not be considered a "modern
writer" by some, his later fiction manifests a keen aware-
ness of the general loss of common values in Europe and
America and his vision is intensely personal. Further,
the chronological placement of James in the development of
fiction depends largely on the subject with which a particu-
lar writer is concerned. James's work has been studied
as 19th century fiction (in The Victorian Mode in American
Fiction, 1865-1885 [East Lansing, Mich., 1965] by R. P.
Falk and Henry James and the Naturalist Movement [East
Lansing, Mich., 1971] by Lyall H. Powers), as marking a
transition between the 19th and 20th centuries (in The
English Novel from Dickens to Lawrence [New York, 1970]
by Raymond Williams and The English Novel in Transition,
1885-1940 [New York, 1965] by W. C. Frierson), and as an

analysis of metaphor are available to literary criti-


While the sheer quantity of theoretical writings

on metaphor precludes any brief survey of the field as

a whole,8 a recent article by Gian Franco Pasini, "Lo

Studio delle metafore," provides a helpful categorization

of various approaches. Through Pasini's analysis, which

offers a comprehensible and reasonably detailed map of

an extensive and difficult terrain, individual studies on

metaphor can be placed in perspective so that we may, in

a Jamesian phrase, have some idea of "where we are."

According to Pasini, studies on metaphor fall into

two large groups: those concerned with what is signified

by the metaphor (significato) and those concerned primarily

important contribution to a clearly modern phenomenon,
the stream of consciousness novel (in Stream of Conscious-
ness: A Study in Literary Method [New Haven, Conn., 1955])
by Melvin Friedman. The general question of James's
modernity is also closely related to the particular novel
under consideration. It is the attitudes and concerns
manifested in the later novels such as The Wings of the
Dove which justify reference to him as, in some important
respects, a "modern" novelist.

The extensive literature on metaphor, from every
conceivable point of view, has recently become more ac-
cessible through Warren Shibles' Metaphor: An Annotated
Bibliography and History (Whitewater, Wisc., 1971) which
indexes 422 topic headings directing the reader to 297
pages listing individual works on metaphor.

9Lingua e Stile, 3 (1968), 71-89.

with the metaphor itself as signifier significantte.

There are, within each of these major categories, the two

subcategories indicated below.

I. Significato II. Significant

A. Attempts to develop a ty- A. Studies of metaphorical
pology or classification structure based on the
of metaphors principles of tradi-
tional grammar
B. Investigations of metaphor B. Studies of metaphorical
as a device of semantic structure based on mod-
change ern linguistics

(Summarized from Pasini, pp. 72, 81)

While semantic and linguistic studies (IB and IIB above)

may have great relevance for literature, and are often

highly suggestive,0 there has been, as Pasini suggests

and my own reading confirms, little practical application

of semantic and linguistic theory to the interpretation

of literary texts. Semantics is a highly specialized

science dealing more with the history and changes in the

Pasini cites as an example the work of Roman
Jakobson who suggests that there are two basic processes
of metaphor formation which have been previously unrecog-
nized: that which operates through similarity and that
which operates through contiguity. Each individual writer
reveals his personal style through a dominant use of one
or the other, according to Jakobson, and, in addition,
entire schools or genres are dominated by one of the two
processes. Romantic and symbolist poets primarily use
metaphors of similarity, for example, and realistic prose
writers metaphors based on contiguity. Pasini finds
Jakobson's "intuitions" highly suggestive and valuable,
as indeed they appear to be, but inadequately proven by
applied research and analysis of actual literary texts
(p. 85).

meaning of words than with their interaction in litera-

ture.11 Linguistics focuses more closely on specific texts,

to reveal much that is interesting and worthwhile in terms

of linguistic structures, but seldom contributes, on the

level of interpretation, insights which are not equally

discoverable through nonlinguistic criticism. As G. N.

Leech suggests in "Linguistics and the Figures of Rhetoric,"

The most interesting and illuminating
aspect of communication in literature
is beyond the scope of linguistics.
The literary writer's object, after all,
is to transcend the limitations of ordi-
nary language, and this is the real
sense in which he can be said to use
language creatively.12

Of the four major groups outlined by Pasini, then,

only two--systems of metaphorical classification and studies

of metaphor based on traditional grammar--are primarily

concerned with the interpretation of metaphor in litera-


Studies based on the classification of metaphoric

types are, as Pasini notes, "innumerable" and exist in

all languages and literatures (p. 72). He cites and sum-

marizes the systems developed by French, Rumanian, Polish,

1Mario Pei and Frank Gaynor, A Dictionary of
Linguistics (New York, 1954), p. 193.

"Linguistics and the Figures of Rhetoric," in
Essays on Style and Language, Linguistic and Critical
Approaches to Literary Style, ed. Roger Fowler (New York,
1966), pp. 155-156.

and English scholars. The English work noted is Henry

Wells's Poetic Imagery (New York, 1924) which focuses on

Elizabethan poetry and distinguishes seven major types

of poetic images.

In general, Pasini evaluates this approach to

metaphor as relatively useless to the literary critic,

although of some interest to the linguist. The categories

are often arbitrary and subjective, and based on some par-

ticular aspect of metaphor (e.g., effectiveness or objec-

tive content) rather than on a totality of metaphoric form,

content, and function (p. 73).13

In addition, and from my particular point of
view, I find the imposition of any externally derived
theory of metaphor on the work of art extremely difficult.
A system may be an important contribution to theory and
yet largely restricted, as an instrument of interpretation,
to its originator. The subjective nature of a system
classifying elements in a work of art on the basis of
"effectiveness" or, in the case of Wells, degrees of
imaginative activity, are extremely difficult if not im-
possible to transfer as a usable method from one mind to
another. Also, and even more importantly, literary criti-
cism which begins with a close examination of the text is
more concerned with discovering the particular system in-
ternal to the text itself than with imposing on the text
an externally devised system. In essence, I agree with
Percy Lubbock when he states

General principles of universal applica-
tion are all very well; but the book to
be written is a particular case; and it
is indeed a simple little book if it
submits to the treatment of generalities
and asks for no more (The Craft of Fic-
tion [New York, 1947], p. iii).

The final approach to be considered, that based on

the principles of traditional grammar, is illustrated by

Pasini through Christine Brooke-Rose's A Grammar of

Metaphor (London, 1958). Basing her study on sixteen

English poets, from Chaucer to Dylan Thomas, and focusing

on the parts of speech in which metaphor occurs, Brooke-Rose

avoids the subjectivity of other types of classification

and achieves for the first time, according to Pasini, a

truly objective system of metaphor (p. 83).

While Pasini commends the originality and scholar-

ships of A Grammar of Metaphor, however, he finds the work

limited because it fails to take into account that modern

linguistics has rendered the logical categories of tradi-

tional grammar no longer absolute. He agrees that these

categories remain useful, but argues that they would be

more appropriately applied to the analysis of the works of

a single author, where some system may indeed be discover-

able, than to the general nature of metaphor as revealed

through different authors writing in different periods

(p. 83). My own approach to metaphor in James, while dif-

ferent from Brooke-Rose in many respects, essentially belongs

in this category and takes support from Pasini's suggestion

of the appropriateness of this type of approach to the work

of a single author.

Pasini's review of the major theoretical approaches

to metaphor brings into rather sharp focus the large gap

between pure and applied theory in metaphorical studies.

At the same time, in the actual practice of literary

criticism, metaphor has always been a major focus of

interest. There exist countless books and articles analyz-

ing "patterns of metaphor" in individual writers and works.

The discovery of these "patterns" is a recognized and

widely used method of critical analysis. While no general

review of all practical criticism dealing with metaphor is,

of course, possible in this study nor has, to my knowledge,

been attempted, the method of focusing on discernible pat-

terns is at least an obvious trend in Jamesian criticism,

summarized in the section of this chapter entitled Approaches

to the Study of Imagery and Metaphor in Henry James, and

common in metaphorical studies as a whole.

There are, operating in these studies, however,

two generally unstated and unexamined assumptions about

metaphor which have severely limited the extent to which

a particular writer's use of metaphor as a stylistic device

has actually been examined. The first is that the primary

objective in metaphorical studies is the discovery of

highly significant and recurring metaphors. The second is

that image and metaphor are identical. These two assumptions

have operated jointly and consistently to obscure the func-

tioning of metaphors which do not have vivid imagis.tic

content or relevance to some significant pattern. But image

and metaphor are not the same, and using the terms

interchangeably inevitably tends to focus our attention on

only certain kinds of metaphors. The distinction between

image and metaphor is of crucial importance, therefore,

in the analysis of total metaphoric content undertaken in

this study, and some further comment on the necessity of

making this distinction and the implications of failing to

do so is both necessary and appropriate.

The Distinction Between Image and Metaphor

Some twenty-five years ago Josephine Miles called

attention to the absence in modern critical writing of any

clear and accepted distinction between image and metaphor.14

Expressing her wonder at the long-standing confusion be-

tween "sensory reference or image, and analogy or figure,"

she goes on to explain that images and metaphors are not

only different in kind but in their ways of working in a

given text.

My idea is that image is a matter of mater-
ial, of reference, which is sensuous as
distinguished from abstract, while figure
is in addition a matter of method, of jux-
taposition, extension, condensation; that
image represents an act of selection,
while figure represents an act of arrange-
ment; and that fundamental study of the
relations between them is yet to be made.
(p. 526)

14"The Problem of Imagery," Sewanee Review, 58
(1950), 522-526.

Noting, further, that images and metaphors "may work to-

gether or separately," she suggests the danger attendant

on ignoring the differences between them: "By merging them

we may ignore them when they are separately at work. An

image may simply refer, not compare; a figure may simply

compare two abstractions, not image" (p. 525).

The common sense and clarity of these observations

clearly command assent. The reason this basic distinction

has not been generally applied in studies of imagery and

metaphor in a specific text is not, however, far to seek.

As readers we tend to consciously respond to and note as

significant primarily those metaphors which utilize some

form of sensuous imagery. We approach the whole subject

of imagistic or metaphorical patterning through our per-

ception of a felt significance, based on the content of

the metaphor, and do not ordinarily take into account any

distinction between the two technical devices or the many

metaphors which do not fit into a pattern or call attention

to themselves by the use of sensuous imagery. Again and

again, a critic writing ostensibly about patterns of meta-

phor will begin to include in his pattern instances of

purely referential imagery5 which may be closely related

1A purely referential image may be defined as a
description of an object represented as actually present.
Such images generally receive critical attention as "images"
in two ways: (1) when they are noted because of their

in content to actual metaphors in the text but are not in

themselves used metaphorically.16

That this approach is common is demonstrated by the preface of

Florence Marsh's study on Wordsworth's imagery7 which is

recommended by Robert Gale, a leading Jamesian critic, as

an excellent review on critical theory concerning the

analysis of imagery in literature. Marsh initially notes

the distinction between image and metaphor suggested by

Miles, but asserts that it is not crucial since "most

students of imagery do not attempt to deal with purely

literal imagery, which lacks obliqueness" and "most do not

attempt to deal with metaphoric constructions that lack

concreteness. Most poetic figures do work in connection

with sensory images" (pp. 13-14). Another critical work,

richness or sensuous appeal, as, for example, in the de-
scription of the table laden with delicacies in Keats'
St. Agnes Eve; and (2) when they are perceived as part of
a symbolic or imagistic pattern. The gilded cup in Henry
James's The Golden Bowl is a good example of an actual
object which becomes symbolic. Less striking objects,
events, or settings may also achieve symbolic suggestive-
ness as elements in an imagistic pattern which includes
both purely referential and metaphorical images.

A good example of this occurs in criticism of
Wings where the purely referential image of the Venetian
storm and the purely metaphorical images of consciousness
or experience as a fluid medium are cited as equal and
undifferentiated elements in the "water imagery" of the

1Wordsworth's Imagery, A Study in Poetic Vision
(New Haven, 1952).

Robert Humphrey's Stream of Consciousness in the Modern

Novel (Berkeley, 1954) provides a good example of the

critical confusion of terms in its simple assertion of

their identity: "Images can be identified as figurative

comparisons, usually in the form of similes or metaphors"

(p. 76).

What is clearly reflected in the practical fact of

what "most students of imagery do" and Humphrey's over-

simplified and untenable assertion is the working of the

assumption, as formulated by Miles, "that most effective

imagery is figurative and most effective figure is imaged"

(p. 525). The real focus of critical writing on image and

metaphor, revealed in the use of the word "effective,"

has been on the striking and suggestive instances of each

and not on their simple occurrence in language.

The approach of this study is to extend the examina-

tion of metaphor beyond the obviously "effective" examples

of its use to include the total metaphoric content of the

particular chapters selected for analysis. In this

examination metaphors are identified as metaphors depend-

ing on their linguistic character, and in terms of the

definition of metaphor given in the statement of method

in Chapter 2, and without regard to their use or nonuse

of imagery as defined by Miles. I have attempted to main-

tain, in other words, the distinction between image and

metaphor as different elements of verbal texture, which

may or may not be combined in one figure, in order to

determine as objectively as possible the specific effects

created by the use of metaphor as a stylistic device.

Metaphor and Total Verbal Texture

The need to distinguish between image and metaphor

as different and distinguishable elements of verbal texture

is intensified by the growing recognition of the signifi-

cance of total verbal texture in literature. It has become

increasingly obvious that the critical tendency to select

for study only those elements or patterns which possess a

certain degree of immediately felt significance does limit

our understanding of the functioning of other less striking

aspects of the verbal texture. While I do not altogether

agree with Barbara Hardy's statement that "there is per-

haps something wrong with a critical account of a novel

which mentions only those details and images which fit

into a symbolic series or codifiable moral argument,18

--no one analysis can ever comprehend all the elements

in a particular text--I do share her recognition that

there is a great deal unaccounted for by this traditional

approach. Criticism focusing on metaphor in particular

1The Appropriate Form: An Essay on the Novel
(London, 1964), p. 13.

needs to extend its limits beyond the obviously significant

or highly developed metaphors which have already received

so much critical attention, particularly in Henry James.

The general need for an approach to literature that

goes beyond the perception of large symbolic patterns or

implicit "moral arguments" and focuses on previously un-

regarded elements in verbal texture has been strongly

argued by Ruth Herschberger with particular reference to
metaphor.9 In our persistent "search for meaning" in

great literature, motivated perhaps by a peculiarly modern

need to discover some sense of the significance of human

life lacking in our lives, criticism has tended to deal

too exclusively with what she describes as "the most tan-

gible, erudite, and philosophically phraseable concepts."

We have ignored, she continues,

certain aspects of the aesthetic experi-
ence, especially the multiple and elusive
fringes of meaning and connotation. But
effective texture, encompassing these
fringes is the admitted earmark of the
great poet [or novelist], since any hack
can use a "great" theme and plant rein-
forcements along the way. (pp. 436-437)

Herschberger's emphasis on verbal texture is simi-

lar in some respects, of course, to that of the New Criti-

cism. There is, however, an added dimension implicit in

1"The Structure of Metaphor," Kenyon Review, 5
(1943), 433-442.

the arguments of both Hardy and Herschberger. The New

Critics generally asserted the value of intrinsic criti-

cism as opposed to criticism with some other external

orientation such as an historical or biographical approach.

What both Hardy and Herschberger are suggesting is that

the close attention to verbal texture should begin with

an awareness of the possible effectiveness of the small

and multiple elements of its totality. Writing specifically

of Henry James, Hardy asserts the importance of the innumer-

able and unmarked details which "sooner or later impress us

(sooner rather than later) as having a density of reference,

a large irony, a symbolic weight, when they make their

cunning appearance in The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings

of the Dove." She summarizes her argument with a suggestion

of James's "total relevance."

James gives us a dramatically enclosed and
self-contained world where everything has
relevance to the main argument, where ap-
pearances, gestures, objects, images, con-
versation all shoot out like sure arrows
to the heart of the matter. His pattern
is insistently centripetal, his relevance
is total. (p. 15)

This "total relevance" of detail in James is per-

haps unmatched by other novelists as a whole. But there

is general and increasing awareness among critics of the

power of the totality of a text which, as Angus McIntosh

suggests, "word by word, phrase by phrase, clause by clause,

sentence by sentence does not reveal anything very unusual

or arresting," to produce a profound cumulative effect on
the reader.20 And this awareness has provoked a rather

general recognition of the need for the analysis of the

whole of verbal texture. To quote McIntosh again, there


elements or strands of something or other
which permeate long stretches of text and
produce a gradual build-up of effect.
What the linguist can perhaps do is to
try to look at and for all such elements
in a more rigorous and systematic way
than has been customary in the past.
(pp. 19-20)

Hopefully, such inquiry need not be limited to

linguistics. But in any case, it is clearly true that to

be effective, language need not be, as H. C. Martin writes,

necessarily vivid and suggestive.

It may be entirely blunt, stripped of
superficially evocative associations
and still send down depth charges. The
concern is not for the mot just but
for the mot resonant.21

These assertions of the importance of the totality

of texture are particularly relevant to the novel. Com-

paring the novel with historical narrative, for example,

Martin Price writes,

20"Saying," Review of English Literature, 6,
No. 2 (April, 1965), 9-20.

H. C. Martin, "The Development of Style in
Nineteenth Century American Fiction," in Style in Prose
Fiction, ed. H. C. Martin, English Institute Essays,
Vol. 4 (New York, 1959), p. 137.


The comparatively high degree of coherence
the novel promises may lend more expecta-
tion that each element--even those that
normally constitute ground--will emerge
as significant, and as a rule a greater
proportion will, many having been created
with just such a function in mind. The
elements of the novel are, one might say,
saturated with purposiveness as true his-
torical materials cannot be.22

And, in a similar vein, John Goode, writing specifically of

The Wings of the Dove,

With this novel more than most, we are
aware, I think, that accounts of its
structure do not coincide with our ex-
perience of the book, because the book
is so much an expansion from a simple
plan. If it has value, the value will
reside in the significance and effective-
ness of the texture which the frame

As convincing as these assertions of the importance

of total verbal texture may be, however, they do not take

us very far toward the discovery of a practical method of

inquiry. Analyzing the totality of any aspect of litera-

ture is obviously a practical impossibility. We can only

deal, as a practical matter, with selected elements of

verbal texture in selected portions of a text. We can

operate, however, with an awareness of the possible and

2Martin Price, "The Fictional Contract," in Liter-
ary Theory and Structure: Essays in Honor of William K.
Wimsatt, ed. Frank Brady and others (New Haven,
1973), p. 174.

23John A. Goode, "The Pervasive Mystery of Style:
The Wings of the Dove," in The Air of Reality, New Essays
on Henry James, ed. John A. Goode (London, 1972), p. 245.

multiple sources of effectiveness in a given text, and

focus on specific and selected elements in this text in

terms, at least, of their totality.

That such a study is possible for metaphor is

supported by Josephine Miles's argument that metaphors

are, in fact, distinguishable elements within a text.

Unlike images which, as she suggests, tend to "merge into

one another verbally as they do psychologically" (there

being a large element of subjectivity and variation in

reader perception of what words actually do call up a

sensuous impression), "figure is a verbal device, its out-

lines may be observed in its terms" (pp. 523, 525). Meta-

phors may, in effect, be discerned and counted in a way

that images cannot. The general disvaluation of the count-

ing and cataloging of images, which Melvin Friedman de-

scribes so aptly as "virtuous work .almost always in

excess of the results," undertaken by compilers who are

not only "not always certain about exactly what they are

counting" but also "not always certain about exactly why"24

need not extend to metaphor. Further, the "why" of the

study of metaphorical language leads, as suggested in

earlier paragraphs on the unique importance of metaphor

24Melvin Friedman, Stream of Consciousness: A
Study in Literary Method (New Haven, 1955), pp. 50-51.

as a conveyor of meaning and value, to essential questions

concerning how literature communicates.

The conviction of the importance of metaphorical

language as, in Hagopian's terms, both "presentational

and value-charged," is a fundamental assumption of this

study. The need to examine all occurrences of metaphor

as significant linguistic items, whether they are striking

or barely perceptible, combined with concrete images or

purely abstract, is the corollary of this assumption.

Only the necessary placement of this study in the light

of previous critical writings on Henry James now remains.

Approaches to the Study of
Imagery and Metaphor in Henry James

The importance of image and metaphor in James has

long been recognized. One critic, writing in 1916, the

year of James's death, comments rather effusively on "the

utmost luxuriance of metaphor" in the late novels and com-

pares these works to "a goodly land arrayed with .

strange and wonderful flowers."25 In a similar vein,

Raymond Mortimer, writing in 1943, describes the novelist's

"most splendid resource" as "the prodigality of metaphors."26

2Wilfred L. Randell, "The Art of Mr. Henry James,"
Fortnightly Review, 105 (1 April 1916), 624.

2Raymond Mortimer, "Henry James," Horizon, A
Review of Literature and Art, 7 (May 1943), 326.

Neither critic takes into account any distinction between

image and metaphor, however, and Mortimer provides a good

example of the critical confusion surrounding the terms

by equating imagery and metaphor. The phenomenon he de-

scribes at the beginning of a paragraph as the "prodi-

gality of metaphors" appears at the end as "a Gothic

exuberance of variegated imagery" (p. 326). Other, more

well-known critics retain this confusion at the same time

that they underline the importance of that element in

James's style variously described as "subtly recurrent

images of a thematic kind,"27 "sustained metaphors" and

"poetic symbolism and imagery,"28 and metaphors which

constitute the "Jamesian equivalent of myth."29

Critical recognition of the presence of highly

suggestive or symbolic images and metaphors in James in

these terms demonstrates the general tendency to approach

both imagery and metaphor through their felt significance.

Words such as "symbol," "theme," and "myth" used in con-

nection with image and metaphor focus on their primary

F. O. Matthiessen, Henry James: The Major Phase
(London, 1944), p. 62.

28Miriam Allott, "Symbol and Image in the Later
Work of Henry James," Essays in Criticism, 3 (1953), 323.

2Austin Warren, "Henry James: Symbolic Imagery
in the Later Novels," Rage for Order, Essays in Criticism
(Chicago, 1948), p. 148.

importance as elements in large symbolic, thematic, or

mythic patterns. If a word or group of words appears

significant in terms of these patterns, it seems to matter

very little whether we are dealing with a literal image,

a metaphor, or a combination of image and metaphor.

While this emphasis has produced much that is

worthwhile in criticism, it has, by its very nature and

focus, continued to obscure the distinction between image

and metaphor as stylistic devices. It has given easy

warrant, in effect, to criticism which categorizes the

image of the actual river in the recognition scene of The

Ambassadors as a device similar in kind to the many meta-

phors of the "stream" of consciousness or experience in

the novel.30 The real link here is not, however, that

they are similar devices but that they have the same con-

tent, i.e., water, in common.

This combining of images and metaphors on the

basis of content, and the selection of specific examples

for study on the basis of felt significance, characterize

not only studies of imagisticc patterns" in specific

novels3 but also more comprehensive analyses of James's

general use of sensuous and figurative language.

3Richard Chartier, "The River and the Whirlpool:
Water Imagery in The Ambassadors," Ball State University
Forum, 12, No. 2 (Spring, 1971), 70-75.

31Studies of this type are too numerous to sum-
marize or even list comprehensively. Articles and portions

of longer works which analyze patterns of imagery occur
frequently in Jamesian criticism because the fiction so
often contains significant and easily discernible patterns
of recurrent and related image groupings. As Adeline R.
Tintner suggests in a recent survey of the field, "Henry
James Criticism: A Current Perspective," American Literary
Realism, 7 (1974), 155-168, "the richly fruited plum pud-
ding of his prose rewards prying fingers" (p. 155). While
I have not attempted a comprehensive review of all avail-
able criticism of this type, I have studied the relevant
articles on Wings, which are summarized in Appendix A,
and more recent criticism of other works to determine if
my particular approach has been used before. It has not,
so far as I have been able to determine, and the following
articles which have been surveyed indicate rather clearly
the tendency to focus on the development of key images and
metaphors rather than on the general use of the metaphor:
Ronald Beck, "James's 'The Beast in the Jungle': Theme
and Metaphor," Markheim Review, 2, No. 2 (Feb. 1970),
[17]-[21]; Richard Chartier, "The River and the Whirlpool:
Water Imagery in The Ambassadors," Ball State University
Forum, 12, No. 2 (Spring 1971), 70-75; John T. Frederick,
"Patterns of Imagery in Chapter XLII of Henry James'
Portrait of a Lady," Arizona Quarterly, 25 (1969), 150-
156; William M. Gibson, "Metaphor in the Plot of The
Ambassadors," New England Quarterly, 24 (1951), 292-305;
Strother B. Purdy, "Henry James's Abysses: A Semantic
Note," English Studies, 51 (1970), 424-433; Daniel J.
Schneider, "The Ironic Imagery and Symbolism of James's
The Ambassadors," Criticism, 9 (1967), 174-196; Lotus Snow,
"'The Prose and Modesty of the Matter'; James's Imagery
for the Artist in Roderick Hudson and The Tragic Muse,"
Modern Fiction Studies, 12 (1966), 61-82; Snow, "'Some
Stray Fragrance of an Ideal'; Henry James's Imagery for
Youth's Discovery of Evil," Harvard Library Bulletin,
14 (1960), 107-125; Snow, "'A Story of Cabinets and Chairs
and Tables'; Images of Morality in The Spoils of Poynton
and The Golden Bowl," ELH, 30 (1963), 413-435; David R.
Weimer, "Babylons Visited, Henry James," The City as Meta-
phor (New York, 1966), pp. 34-51. Among these articles,
only Robert Schneider's, "The Ironic Imagery and Symbolism
of James's The Ambassadors," calls attention to the cumula-
tive effect of very slight rather than key images and meta-
phors. Discussing the novel's general motif of freedom
versus confinement, Schneider notes the metaphoric use of
words such as "got hold of," "handling," and "collared"
(pp. 181, 183, 188). He does not draw any distinction
between image and metaphor, however, and focuses primarily
on the use of significant details which reinforce only this
central motif.

Six more or less general surveys of this type

appeared during a ten-year period, from 1950 to 1960.

These studies, ranging from a comprehensive analysis of

the imagery in all of James's fiction to a close analysis

of the structure of his metaphors, will serve to illustrate

by example the major approaches which have been used in

studying this aspect of James. Since none of these studies

makes any explicit distinction between image and metaphor,

and all generally use the terms interchangeably, they

are pertinent to my own study primarily as negative ex-

amples illustrating the absence, in present criticism, of

any sustained attention to metaphor as metaphor.

Miriam Allott's "Symbol and Image in the Later Work

of Henry James" (1953) is typical of the kind of commen-

tary which is found throughout Jamesian criticism when it

moves away from character analysis or general interpretation

of the fiction to focus specifically on the novelist's use

of imagery and figurative language.32 Asserting that the

3This type of approach might have been equally
well illustrated by reference to Joseph Warren Beach, The
Method of Henry James (Philadelphia, 1918), Percy Lubbock,
The Craft of Fiction (New York, 1921), F. 0. Matthiessen,
"Henry James: Symbolic Imagery in the Later Novels," Rage
for Order, Essays in Criticism (Chicago, 1948), and, more
recent, Peter K. Garrett, "Henry James: The Creations of
Consciousness," Scene and Symbol from George Eliot to
James Joyce, Studies in Changing Fictional Mode (New Haven,
1969), pp. 76-159. Matthiessen, for example, states very
clearly that "we may learn more about James's art by exam-
ining the function of a few of his most elaborated images

"vein of poetic symbolism and imagery" in the later James

"calls for attention as the most important aspect of the

'major phase,'" Allott selects for analysis thematic images

and metaphors which recur throughout the later novels.

She discusses various objet d'art images, such as the

Bronzino portrait in Wings or the title image of The Golden

Bowl, and the pervasive images and metaphors of the jungle

and the marketplace which contribute so much intensity to

James's representation of "the black and merciless things

behind the great possessions" (pp. 323, 332). Although

it is highly selective, this approach is a particularly

direct way of getting into the central core of a novel's

meaning or analyzing those large issues of social and

personal morality with which James was profoundly concerned.

Its general intention is, however, to illustrate the way

in which themes or concepts are communicated through key

images and metaphors and not to examine the general func-

tioning of metaphor as an element of verbal texture.

Two other studies of sensuous and figurative

language in James approach the subject in a more compre-

hensive way by cataloging major image groups rather than

analyzing selected examples.

than by pursuing the sequence of their scattered and often
minor echoes" (p. 70). I have chosen Allott's article be-
cause its title is specific and it is self-contained and
not part of a larger study and therefore easier to present
in summary form.

The first is R. W. Short's "Henry James's World of

Images" (1953). Focusing on only the late style, Short

introduces his study as an attempt to discuss the "whole

subject" of imagery "in terms of the areas of existence

or experience most used by James as sources for his imagery."

His ultimate intention is to present "the lineaments of a

cosmology, which could be combined with evidence from other

sources to make a full account of the James world." Citing

fourteen major subject areas,33 Short includes in his sur-

vey images ranging from "concretely visualized settings"

to the highly symbolic and purely metaphoric title image

of Wings. He notes the different levels of intensity and

effectiveness within this broad range, some images being

merely ornamental and others "charged with extraordinary

significance," and occasionally distinguishes between lit-

eral and figurative images within an individual grouping.

Short's overriding concern is, however, with subject-area

categories and the "April daisies" around Daisy Miller's

grave are listed in the same column with a metaphorical

"flower" representing an opinion "gathered as from a large

field of comparison" appearing in the same novel (pp. 943,

960, 950, 948, 946).

The areas categorized are flowers, birds, art,
the East, light-dark, height-depth, society-money, warfare,
drama, meals, furniture, machinery, cage-beast, travel-water,
(pp. 946-947, 951, 954).

Short's study has produced a useful catalog of

image areas repeatedly used by James. His method is

clearly limited as an analytical approach, however, and

does not take us very far into either close analysis of

a text or a deeper understanding of James's use of meta-

phor as metaphor.

The second of these more comprehensive studies is

Robert Gale's The Caught Image, Figurative Language in the

Fiction of Henry James (1954). Gale's approach is similar

to Short's in that it is structured according to subject

categories, in this case six major subject areas with a

great many minor subheadings,34 but quite different in in-

tention and in the criteria according to which images are

selected for inclusion.

Briefly stated, Gale's intention is to "throw

light on James's personality and thought" and "help expli-

cate his texts by showing that his imagery habitually

points settings, characterizes, foreshadows, implements

plot, and reinforces theme." In this closer attention to

the actual functioning of images, particularly in his

summary statement of the major categories and their var-

ious uses, Gale's survey does provide suggestive

Gale's six major categories are "water, flower,
animal (the nonhuman half), and war, art, and religion
(the human half)." He finds a total of "16,902 tropes
in 135 novels and short stories" (p. 15).


generalizations concerning the effects of major image

groups. Of water imagery, for example, he writes

This water helps James show that life is
alternately--and sometimes simultaneously
--pleasant and terrifying, warmly delight-
ful and mortally chilling, twinklingly
sunny and profoundly bleak. We begin in
water, go down gelidly into death, and
sometimes are accorded a watery rebirth.
(p. 246)

It is also helpful to know, from a historical point of view,

that certain image groups are used more frequently than

others at particular times in James's career. Animal

imagery occurs more often in the 1890's, for example, while

water imagery remains "at a steady level" (pp. 4, 232-239,


The criteria by which Gale selects the images to

be included in his survey present serious obstacles, how-

ever, to its usefulness as a basis for studying metaphor

as a stylistic device. Although he asserts the objectivity

of his criteria, he perpetuates the critical confusion con-

cerning the terms image and metaphor by defining an image

as a "simile or metaphor, in the broadest sense" and ex-

cluding metaphors occurring in cliches or idiomatic expres-

sions, hyperbole, and figures based on "literal similarity"

or "mere imaginativeness" (pp. 4, 7). What seems to be

operating through these criteria is the familiar tendency

to select images and metaphors on the basis of felt sig-

nificance rather than on the basis of their actual occurrence

as linguistic mechanisms. That he is also operating on

the assumption uncovered by Josephine Miles, "that most

effective imagery is figurative and most effective figure

is imaged," is also suggested by his definition of an image

as a simile or metaphor "in the broadest sense."

In general, then, Gale's study, though broader in

scope and more detailed than Short's, remains a similar

catalog of the more or less striking instances of sensuous

and figurative language in James arranged according to sub-

ject areas.

Of the three remaining studies, which are general

in the sense that they are focused on more than one par-

ticular novel, two are similar in their special concern with

the functions of figurative language. The first is Pris-

cilla Gibson's "The Uses of James's Imagery: Drama Through

Metaphor" (1954).35 Gibson's major point is that it is

important for "the investigator of images to go beyond the

content of a metaphor, or even its simple recurrence" to

examine more closely the "changing functions of the image

in different contexts." She defines context in the Jamesian

terms of "picture" and "scene" and further distinguishes

two types of scenic dialogue: that of a character with a

confidante and that of two characters in direct confronta-

tion. This emphasis on context is, of course, fundamental

3PMLA, 69 (1954), 1076-1084.

to my own study and while I have approached the definition

of context somewhat differently, as indicated in Chapter 2,

I share her conviction of the importance of context to

metaphorical studies. The use of the same metaphor by

different characters in different contexts and with differ-

ent meanings is an effective device, as she suggests, to

reveal "types of characters as well as dramatically striking

discrepancies between points of view" (pp. 1076, 1077, 1084).

Gibson's general emphasis remains, however, on the

obviously significant metaphors rather than on the general

working of metaphorical language in the novels. Her article

also provides an excellent example of the unquestioning

acceptance of the terms imagery and metaphor as essentially

interchangeable. She writes at one point, for example,

"Images exchanged in [conversation with the confidante]

create drama in a different way from metaphors used in

genuine dialogue" (p. 1078). While she seems, in general,

to be talking about figurative language, her failure to

define her terms renders her article more valuable as a

suggestion of a new focus in metaphorical studies, i.e.,

the emphasis on context, than as a demonstrated method for

analyzing metaphorical language in James's fiction.

Where Gibson's article has a particular relevance

to the study of metaphor as a stylistic device because of

its emphasis on context, the second of the two studies which

approach the problem from the point of view of the functions

performed by image and metaphor has practically no rele-

vance. Alexander Holder-Barrell's The Development of

Imagery and Its Functional Significance in Henry James's

Novels (Bern, 1959) not only fails to distinguish between

image and metaphor, or define either term, but also intro-

duces three new image categories which are equally unde-

fined and apparently based on the author's sense of a par-

ticular figure's effectiveness.36

The last and most recent general study of figura-

tive language in James, Alex Holder's "On the Structure of

Henry James's Metaphors" (1960),37 continues to use image

3There are, in Holder-Barrell's view, "common
metaphors," "merely rhetorical comparisons and images,"
and "functional comparisons and images" (pp. 19, 23). He
summarizes the relative presence of each in James's fic-
tion as follows:

On the whole, then, common metaphors play
a less prominent part in James's novels
than rhetorical comparisons and similes.
Taken together and put into the scale
against the remaining images, we find
that in the early novels rhetorical images
hold the balance with the others, but from
The Old Things onwards there is a steady
and considerable decrease in their appli-
cation. Their place is taken by images
which have greater functional significance.
(p. 23)

Admitting that "it is difficult to separate merely rhe-
torical comparisons and images from those of a greater
functional significance" even in the early James,
Holder-Barrell ultimately falls back on the familiar sub-
ject areas, such as theater, animal, and water images, to
present his findings.

37English Studies, 41 (1960), 289-297.


and metaphor interchangeably but focuses more clearly on

metaphor as a stylistic device. Stating that "the easiest

way to create an image lies in the metaphorical use of

either a verb, an adjective (adverb) or a noun," Holder

goes on to establish three major categories of metaphor

based on the number of metaphorical elements in a particu-

lar figure. By element, he means "one word only, be it

a noun, an adjective or a verb, used with a metaphorical

meaning." The first category includes images with one

metaphorical element, the second with any two or all three

of the elements noted above, and the third with more than

three (pp. 289, 294).

Holder's emphasis on the number of metaphorical

elements and his particular interest in visual imagery

lead him to conclude that the most significant metaphors

in James are also those which are most elaborate and most

pictorial (p. 294, passim). While his focus on specific

grammatical elements facilitates close analysis of ex-

tended metaphors (he indicates, for example, the particu-

lar contribution made by each component), it does not

relate metaphor to context or provide any really new in-

sight into James's use of metaphorical language. Extended

metaphors have always been noted by virtue of their length

and complexity and single-component metaphors need not be

simple in effect because they are simple in structure.

This brief review of critical approaches to image

and metaphor in James's fiction suggests rather clearly

that most studies in this area are concerned with either

cataloging the subject areas of major image grouping or

analyzing central or key metaphors. Within this body of

criticism only Gibson's emphasis on metaphorical context

and Holder's close attention to the structure of individual

metaphors are directly related to this study.

This tendency is also illustrated in critical

writing on The Wings of the Dove. The general review of

criticism on the novel (Appendix A) suggests that very

little attention has been paid to the use of metaphor in

Wings beyond those striking or recurrent figures belonging

to specific patterns. While metaphors are frequently and

appropriately noted in support of arguments relating to

character and theme, they have been largely selected on

the basis of felt significance and for the purpose of

illustrating these themes. No study which I have been

able to discover has focused on the device of metaphor

as a pervasive element in the novel's verbal texture.

The method of metaphorical analysis outlined and

demonstrated in the following pages is offered, therefore,

as a new experiment in criticism. It offers, in addition,

I think, substantial and provocative insights into some

fundamental questions of how Jamesian fiction actually

operates on a word by word, page by page level. James

himself has written that "the study of connections is the

recognized function of intelligent criticism," and the

capacity of metaphor to make connections, to relate one

world to another and to reveal, in the process, the inter-

action of conflicting values and perspectives, renders

this particular "device" a powerful tool of the novelist's

technique. James alludes frequently to his use of detail,

to "all the weaving of silver threads and tapping on golden

nails,"39 the "myriad ordered stitches,"40 the "artful

patience" with which he has "piled brick upon brick,"41

and the "multiplication of touches"42 through which he

creates the felt life and intensity of his fiction. That

metaphors, with their special and sometimes uncanny power

to convey meaning, emotion, and value, constitute in no

small measure the actual substance of these details is the

major thrust of this paper.

38"Pierre Loti," Fortnightly Review, 43 NS (May
1888), 647.

39Preface to The Princess Casamassima, The Art
of the Novel, Critical Prefaces by Henry James, ed. Richard
P. Blackmur (New York, 1934), p. 69. (Hereafter cited as

40"The Lesson of Balzac," The Future of the Novel,
Essays on the Art of Fiction, ed. Leon Edel (New York,
1956), p. 12.

41The Portrait of a Lady, AN, p. 55.
Preface to The Portrait of a Lady, AN, p. 55.

42o Roderick Hudson, AN, p. 19.
Preface to Roderick Hudson, AN, p. 19.



The primary objective of this study is to determine

the nature, placement, and aesthetic function of metaphori-

cal language in representative chapters of The Wings of the

Dove. The nature of the metaphorical language used is

analyzed in terms of the grammatical basis of each metaphor.

Eight different metaphorical types, depending on the part

of speech with which the metaphor begins and its degree

of expansion, have been identified. Metaphorical place-

ment refers specifically to the location of each metaphor

in one of three contexts: the direct discourse of the

narrator speaking in his own voice, the representation of

a character's thought processes (where metaphors are pre-

sented as arising out of the character's consciousness),

and the direct speech of dialogue. The aesthetic function

of the metaphors used in each chapter is analyzed in terms

of their capacity to emphasize various aspects of the situ-

ations and events represented, their use by and application

to individual characters, and the effects created by the

repetition and accumulation of particular figures. One of

the major concerns of this study is the relationship be-

tween metaphor and context and how this relationship is

utilized to create both meaning and aesthetic effect.

Chapter 2 is descriptive of basic strategies and

terms. The first part of the chapter is concerned with

the rationale behind the choice of particular chapters

in the novel; the development of the analytical method used;

definitions of metaphor, metaphorical placement, and con-

text; and the method used to discriminate between contexts.

The remaining pages of the chapter define the eight meta-

phorical types which have been identified and illustrate

these types by examples from the opening chapter of the

novel. The four subsequent chapters, 3-6, are devoted to

the examination of the use of metaphor in the chapters of

the novel selected for study.


The total metaphoric content of four chapters,

I, XV, XXX, and XXXVIII, has been analyzed. These chap-

ters were selected to meet the four basic requirements

summarized below.

(1) Location in the novel: the need for sample
chapters from the beginning, middle, and
end of the text.

(2) Use of different characters as the record-
ing consciousness: the need to analyze
chapters in which each of the three main
characters, Kate, Milly, and Densher, acts
as the recording consciousness.

(3) Interaction of different characters: the
need to study examples of the interaction
between different major characters and be-
tween major and minor characters.

(4) Different types of chapters: the need to
study at least one chapter devoted pri-
marily to the representation of conscious-
ness as well as the more usual type of chap-
ter in which the Jamesian "picture," created
through both narration and the representa-
tion of consciousness, is followed by the
"scene" of dramatized interaction in the
form of dialogue.

The number of chapters selected for study was lim-

ited to four in order that the close analysis essential in

working with total metaphoric content could be handled and

the results ultimately presented in some manageable way.

The number of pages analyzed (78) constitutes approximately

10% of the total number of pages in the novel (764).

The selection of specific chapters resulted from

the capacity of each to meet at least two or more of the

requirements noted above. The choice of Chapter I was

necessary because of its crucial importance as the begin-

ning chapter of the novel. In addition, this chapter pro-

vided an example of Kate as the recording consciousness

and of the interaction between a major and a minor character,

Kate and her father, Lionel Croy. Chapter XV, while not

located at the actual center of the novel, was at least

fairly near the center and provided an example of Milly as

the recording consciousness and an important encounter

between two major characters, Milly and Kate. Chapter XXX

fulfilled two requirements by its rendering of an extended

example of the representation of consciousness without the

added complexities of any dramatized interaction between

major characters and its use of Densher as the recording

consciousness. As the conclusion of the novel, Chapter

XXXVIII was, like Chapter I, a necessary choice and pro-

vided as well a second encounter between two major charac-

ters, Densher and Kate.

In general, the choice of these particular chap-

ters was determined by their ability to meet the stated

requirements and not because of any preconceptions or

general impressions regarding the function or importance

of metaphor in these chapters. My approach was experimen-

tal in that I did not anticipate or hope for any particu-

lar results other than an increased understanding of the

actual working of metaphor within the chosen text.

In order to develop a systematic approach to the

analysis of the total metaphoric content of each chapter,

I began by identifying, classifying by type, and deter-

mining the context of each metaphor in Chapter I. Through

this initial analysis, I established the hypothesis that

each of the three contexts was characterized by the con-

sistent and systematic use of certain metaphorical types.

The analysis of subsequent chapters ultimately disproved

this hypothesis. The nature and placement of metaphorical

language seems to have more to do with the particular events

and characters represented than with the use of any system.

The idea that James's choice of particular figures was de-

termined by a codifiable system rather than the aesthetic

demands of the recorded experience was a tentative and

somewhat simplistic assumption which eventually, and quite

properly, became less and less important as the actual

complexities of James's use of metaphor began to emerge.

Although some metaphorical types do appear more frequently

in a particular context, specific types clearly seem to be

chosen, in general, for their ability to create certain

effects rather than as markers of context.

The system of metaphorical types developed in the

analysis of Chapter I did prove, however, an excellent

device for studying the various ways in which metaphor

functions in the three basic modes of discourse. While

the usefulness of expanded verb metaphors to represent

process is, for example, a constant capability of this

type, its use is different in different contexts. Re-

served primarily for the depiction of Kate and Densher's

mental processes in Chapters I and XXX, expanded verb meta-

phors in Chapter XV perform the same function in regard

to Milly's consciousness but also underline, when they are

used in the narrator's discourse, the process of emotional

and psychological interaction between Milly and Kate which

he describes. Metaphoric function and effect are, therefore,

related to context although the choice of types does not seem

to be determined by context.

The analysis of other chapters also revealed that

some metaphorical types are fairly constant in James's

prose, in terms of quantity and placement, and others are

highly variable. The discovery of rather striking varia-

tions, the increase or decrease of specific types in the

three contexts, provided valuable insights into some of the

ways particular effects may be created by the different

types. While the existence of these variations destroyed

my original hypothesis of James's systematic use of meta-

phorical types, it revealed a way of analyzing and talking

about the actual working of metaphor in James's prose.

The use of a variety of metaphoric structures to create

a single effect, the subtle repetitions of a single struc-

ture to another effect, and the pervasive use of metaphor

to concretize and evaluate the recorded experience in pre-

viously unrecognized ways emerged as the most important

insights gained from the close study of total metaphoric


Because of the various components involved in

metaphorical placement, the use of eight different meta-

phorical types in three contexts in four chapters presents

a formidable number of possible combinations, I decided to

use Chapter I as the basic model of comparison. Quantita-

tive differences in the use of the various types in the

three contexts in each chapter are revealed by reference to

the distribution of types as it occurs in Chapter I. To

simplify the presentation of these comparisons as much as

possible, a table of distribution in which each chapter

analyzed is compared to Chapter I is included in the dis-

cussion of each chapter.

The kind of comparison which can be made through

this method can be illustrated by the relatively simple

example of the use of adjective metaphors in Chapters I

and XV. The unusually high number of adjective metaphors

(five) used in the direct speech of Lionel Croy in Chapter

I is in direct contrast to the use of only one such meta-

phor, and this in indirect speech, in the dialogue of

Milly and Kate in Chapter XV. The minimal presence of

this type in the dialogue of the later chapter is consis-

tent, however, with the absence of any character who speaks

in Lionel Croy's cynical and negative idiom in which people

who subvert or oppose his purposes are condemned as

"beastly," beggarlyy," or "elephantine." When, moreover,

the use of adjective metaphors in dialogue in all chapters

is compared, no other similarly extended use of this meta-

phoric type occurs. The comparison between chapters thus

reveals the use of adjective metaphors in the direct speech

of Lionel Croy as a distinct variation in the general use

of metaphor in this context and one of the ways by which

his character is suggested and created. While this com-

parison is relatively simple, adjective metaphors are among

the less frequently used metaphoric types, other comparisons

are not so easily presented and require even more the cen-

tral point of reference provided by the quantitative dis-

tribution of types established in Chapter I.

Because of its use as a basic model for compari-

son, the approach to the analysis of Chapter I is somewhat

different from the approach to subsequent chapters. In an

attempt to demonstrate the particular capabilities and

functions of each metaphoric type as it occurs in each of

the three contexts, each type is considered independently.

All types are examined fully regardless of their frequency

or apparent significance. Although interpretive comments

regarding the effects produced by particular figures or

groups of figures are included in this analysis, the dis-

cussion is organized according to the quantitative distri-

bution of the various types in each context. This analysis

is followed by a more critical and evaluative interpreta-

tion of the general use of metaphor in this chapter as it

is related to characters and events.

In the analysis of subsequent chapters in the

novel only significant quantitative differences in the use

of specific metaphorical types are noted and the critical

focus is placed on the particular effects created by meta-

phor and how the various types operate, on a word by word,

page by page level, within the three modes of discourse

to create these effects. Interpretive analysis is selective

and confined to the major effects achieved by metaphor

rather than comprehensive as in the analysis of Chapter I.

Where the use of a particular type is minimal, or does not

contribute to any particular effect through the devices of

accumulation, repetition, or expansion of a particular

metaphor, all of the examples of this type are not neces-

sarily analyzed. Some metaphors, like some sound elements

in a poem, are relatively neutral and function primarily

as variations on literal statement rather than as markers

of emphasis or meaning. In Chapter XXX, for example,

the narrator comments, during his description of the Piazza

San Marco, on "the tables and chairs that overflowed from

the cafes" (II, 285). The verb used here is certainly

metaphorical--tables and chairs do not literally overflow--

but the effect is confined to the descriptive moment and

has no overtones of meaning or relevance to the characters

and events represented in the chapter as a whole.

Definition of Metaphor

Although the term metaphor clearly requires defi-

nition, the problems of this definition have drawn the

attention and labor of a long succession of commentators2

See Chapter 5, pp. 202-203, fn. 4, in which
several metaphors of this type are listed.

Christine Brooke-Rose has provided a helpful sum-
mary of the approaches to the theory of metaphor, from

and a full analysis of the theory of metaphor is beyond

the scope of this study. It is certainly necessary, how-

ever, to define my use of the term and, more importantly,

to indicate the principle of selection by which a word or

group of words has been designated as metaphorical.

On its most fundamental level, a metaphor involves

speaking of one thing in terms of something else. As

Kenneth Burke has suggested, "Metaphor is a device for

seeing something in terms of something else. It brings

out the thisness of a that, or the thatness of a this."3

John Middleton Murry focuses clearly on what essentially

"happens" in a metaphor when he states "that a perceived

quality in one kind of'existence is transferred to define

a quality in another kind of existence."4 This transfer of

meanings from one realm of experience to another involves

a definite mental process which occurs each time a meta-

phor is apprehended. The critical importance of this pro-

cess of transference is suggested by the question, which

Aristotle to the present, in the opening chapter of A
Grammar of Metaphor (London, 1965). The Princeton Encyclo-
pedia of Poetry and Poetics, ed. Alex Preminger, Frank J.
Warnke, and 0. B. Hardison, Jr. (Princeton, N. J., 1965)
also provides a comprehensive analysis of the term on a
theoretical level in the article on metaphor (pp. 490-495).

A Grammar of Motives (New York, 1946), pp. 503-

4The Problem of Style (Oxford, 1922), p. 92.

always arises in any theoretical discussion of metaphor,

of whether a particular figure is metaphorically effec-

tive, i.e., "alive," "dying," "moribund," or "dead" from

over-use. If the process of transference occurs, and the

reader does, in fact, attribute to the metaphor's literal

subject the qualities or values connected with the figura-

tive term, then the metaphor may be said to be "alive"

or active.

The question and crucial importance of a meta-

phor's degree of "life" complicates the problem of basic

definition, however, because the nature of a metaphor does

not determine its degree of life but the reader's response.

Configurations of words, juxtapositions of realms of experi-

ence, are only potentially, not necessarily metaphorical.

Wellek and Warren recognize this dilemma in The Theory of

Literature (New York, 1956) and solve it, theoretically,

by accepting the distinction between metaphor and "true

metaphor." Two basic criteria are applied to this dis-

tinction. A "true metaphor" occurs when (1) it has "the

effect of metaphor upon the hearer" (i.e., the process of

transference takes place), and (2) when it is "the cal-

culated, willed intention of its user to create an emotive

effect" (p. 196).

The "effect upon the hearer," except in the case

of oneself, and the "calculated, willed intention" of the

author are both, however, largely inaccessible. The only


reasonably objective criterion, and that which forms the

basis of my definition of metaphor, is whether or not a

particular collocation of words juxtaposes two realms of

experience. When this juxtaposition occurs in a word or

word grouping and the process of transference from a fig-

urative to a literal term could conceivably take place,

metaphor, in my use of the term, may be said to exist.

Although similes are ordinarily distinguished

from metaphors in definitions of figurative language, I

have elected, for several reasons, to include similes

used by James as metaphors. The most important reason

is that a simile is clearly a juxtaposition, a comparing

of one thing with another. That the comparison is explicitly

stated by the words "like" or "as" underlines rather than

diminishes the effect of juxtaposition. Brooke-Rose finds

the "confusion" between metaphor and comparison among

scholarly writers "irritating," but admits that many critics,

including Aristotle, have regarded them as "much the same

thing."5 The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

also notes that "as a figure of speech, simile merges with

and to some extent overlaps the 'prosaic' metaphor of com-

parison, substitution, or description" (p. 767). In

addition to these considerations, the elimination of a

A Grammar of Metaphor, p. 14.

figure such as Kate Croy's description of her father, "He

dealt out lies as he might the cards from the greasy old

pack for the game of diplomacy" (p. 7), on the basis of a

technical consideration, i.e., the use of the phrase "as

he might," seems an unwarranted denial of a metaphoric

effect which clearly exists. As a point of fact, James

uses the simile-form of metaphor only rarely. Since these

instances do juxtapose different realms in sometimes highly

effective ways, as in the example above, they have been

included as falling within the given definition of metaphor

as essentially based on juxtaposition.

The discernment of this juxtaposition is ordinarily

made on the basis of whether or not what is described in

the metaphorical statement is represented, in context, as

literally true. There are statements, such as "He ran

circles around his opponent," which though apparently

metaphorical could be literally true. If this statement

appeared in the description of a debate, for example, its

literal sense would clearly not be appropriate. The situ-

ation or context of the metaphor actually prevents its

being taken literally. If, on the other hand, this state-

ment appeared in the description of an athletic contest

where the individual did, in fact, run around his opponent

in circles, it would no longer be metaphorical. The funda-

mental assumption here is that while a metaphorical state-

ment may be potentially both literal and figurative, it

cannot ordinarily, in a given context, be both simultan-

eously. This assumption may appear obvious, and even

simple-minded, but it is crucial and the essential basis

for the value and effectiveness of metaphor which depends

on the transference of connotations from one realm of ex-

perience to another. The example above is metaphorical

only when it juxtaposes the realm of physical action with

some other distinctly different realm, such as that of

verbal discourse in the example of the debate. If this

juxtaposition does not occur, if, in fact, we are talking

only about physical action in the phrase "He ran circles

around his opponent," there is no metaphor.

G. N. Leech has suggested the term "semantic in-

compatibles" for words which cannot be literally true in

a given context. Leech further identifies the occurrence

of semantic incompatible as "the linguistic basis of

metaphor."6 In his discussion of semantic incompatible,

Leech cites as an example a line from Hopkins: "Then let

the March tread our ears." He points out that the collo-

cation of "tread" and "ears" is a type of "semantic ab-

surdity" (p. 149). This is a vivid example, and the ab-

surdity is highly obvious. The principle seems to hold,

"Linguistics and the Figures of Rhetoric," Essays
on Style and Language, Linguistic and Critical Approaches
to Literary Style, ed. Roger Fowler (New York, 1966), p.

however, even for items in which the semantic absurdity is

not nearly so striking. When, for example, James uses the

phrase "Mr. Croy wound up" as a rhetorical variation on

"Mr. Croy concluded," the juxtaposition of different realms

is definite even though it is not immediately obvious. He

is talking about talking, but the words "wound up" have a

strong denotation of a physical action which cannot, logi-

cally, be applied to an act of speech. It really does not

matter that the dictionary definitions of "to wind up"

include the meaning of "to come to a conclusion." The

original metaphorical nature of this use of the verb may

or may not be activated in a particular context, but the

juxtaposition of verbal and physical, the illogicality of

actually being able to "wind up" words, remains potentially


The degree of life, and more important, the sig-

nificance of any particular metaphor are altogether dif-

ferent considerations from this basic definition which

focuses on the essential nature of metaphor. The assign-

ment of value or effectiveness to metaphorical language

is, except in the case of extended metaphors, largely sub-

jective. Furthermore, it is clearly possible for a meta-

phor which is not necessarily or even consciously appre-

hended as a metaphor to effect, if only on a subliminal

level, the process of transference by which qualities,

values, and meanings are assigned in the extended process

of reading. As H. C. Martin has suggested, there are often

"long stretches" in a particular text where "there may be

no overt figures at all but a steady undercurrent of work-

ing metaphors into which action and supplementary meaning

are packed together."7

This concept of the subtle "working metaphor," as

opposed to the vivid, obviously metaphorical passage in-

volving, for example, an extended simile, is crucial to an

understanding of James's use of figurative language. Both

slight and extended metaphors occur frequently in his prose

and neither with purely decorative or fortuitous effect.

In regard to the more subtle and less striking figures,

Leo Spitzer's argument for the "axiom" of the philologian--

"that details are not an inchoate chance aggregation of

dispersed material through which no light shines"--is par-

ticularly appropriate. Details are instead, "in the great

works of art"8 he suggests, the outward manifestations of

the central meaning and vision which come to life through

our apprehension of the literary work as a whole--an appre-

hension which depends not only on the overtly meaningful,

the key passage, but on the total impression conveyed by

the total verbal structure.

"The Development of Style in Nineteenth-Century
American Fiction," in Style in Prose Fiction, ed. H. C.
Martin, English Institute Essays, Vol. 4 (New York, 1959),
p. 138.

Linguistics and Literary History (Princeton, N. J.,
1948), pp. 23-24.

It is the role played in conveying this total im-

pression by all the metaphorical language in the portions

of the novel analyzed on which this study focuses. Judg-

ments of the significance and effectiveness of individual

figures must eventually be attempted and are, in fact, the

ultimate goal. But my initial approach has been to iden-

tify metaphorical items on as objective a basis as possible,

utilizing the definition given above, to provide an essen-

tially descriptive basis for the final task of interpre-

tation. To discover the potentially, as well as obviously,

metaphorical content of the text has been the initial goal.

In a very real sense, each reader of a James novel appre-

hends a different novel, depending on his attentiveness,

his personal interest, and his skill as a reader. What

I have tried to do is to focus on what is there in the

metaphorical substance of the text to be apprehended, in-

cluding the often slight and not at all obvious metaphors

embodied in slang, cliches, and colloquialisms. These

figures, while familiar, have always the potential of

being given fresh life by the context and cannot be ignored

as possibly significant details of the verbal texture. The

significance of detail suggested by Spitzer is a primary

working assumption and is supported in the case of James

by the general consensus that whatever else may be said

about the novelist, he was a highly deliberate, conscious

artist who knew what he was doing.


Definition of Metaphorical Placement

In addition to this determination of the actual

existence of metaphorical language, I have also attempted

to focus, as suggested earlier, on the placement of meta-

phorical items. This placement can be approached in vari-

ous ways. On the simplest level, metaphors occur as ele-

ments in the linear progression of words. Approaching

placement from this perspective, one would look for sig-

nificance in a pattern based on the clustering of metaphors

or the alternation between the presence or absence of

figurative language. No significant pattern of this kind

appears in the four chapters analyzed. The 85 instances

of metaphor in Chapter I, for example, are distributed

fairly evenly throughout the 25 pages of the chapter as

the following purely numerical listing reveals:

3 1 11 5 19 5
4 5 12 2 20 5
5 4 13 2 21 4
6 4 14 2 22 2
7 4 15 3 23 7
8 4 16 5 24 3
9 4 17 4 25 5
10 1 18 2 26 1
27 1

The relative insignificance of linear distribution

in the portions of the text which have been analyzed is

further supported by the obvious fact that all metaphors

are not equal. They have relative "weight" depending on

their vividness, recurrence, number of lexical items

involved, and complexity and degree of expansion. The

five instances of metaphorical language on page 25, for

example, are all relatively light. Each involves the use

of only one word, one is repeated, two involve slang or

colloquial speech, and one ("hustled") might easily be


1. "I'm sorry for her, deluded woman, if
she builds on you."

2. "She's not the person I pity most .
if it's a question of what you call
building on me."

3. "Your way, you mean then, will be to
marry some blackguard without a penny?"

4. It brought him up again before her as
with a sense that she was not to be
hustled. .

5. "Who is the beggarly sneak?"

(With the exception of the "I" in item 2, the underlining

indicates metaphoric words.)

In contrast, one of the two metaphors on page 22,

describing Lionel Croy's offer to efface himself as his

asking for "the final, fatal sponge well saturated

and well applied," is highly original, vivid, expanded,

and impossible to overlook.

While linear clustering or the absence of figura-

tive language clearly can be significant, the chapters

selected for close analysis do not generally reveal sig-

nificances of this kind. What does appear significant is

that James has utilized metaphors as pervasive elements

throughout the text to balance the often noted "intangi-

bility"9 or abstractness of his general style.

There is, however, a clear pattern of significance

in the placement of metaphorical language when placement is

viewed as a matter of context. The word context itself,

of course, raises a whole host of difficult problems. Where,

for example, does the context of a metaphor begin and end?

In a very real sense, the entire body of a text is itself

the metaphor's context. The context is also different de-

pending on whether one is dealing with the first or fifth

reading of the novel. The very act of close analysis after

repeated readings creates a different and more complex sense

of context. For the purposes of this study, however, I have

limited the use of context to three basic classifications

depending on who, in the novel's fictive world, is speaking

or thinking in metaphorical terms.10 In this particular

9In The Later Style of Henry James (Oxford, 1972),
Seymour Chatman discusses the terms "general" and "abstract"
as they apply to James's diction and finds "intangible" a
preferable category.

1Although he is primarily concerned with the con-
text of consciousness and his interest in this context in-
cludes its use of thematic words as well as "significant"
images and metaphors, Peter K. Garrett has noted the impor-
tance of determining the "locus of the image" in terms of
whether it is used by the narrator or by a character.

The creation of images by the characters
in speech or meditation is an important
part of their efforts to discover and

text, there are three possibilities: the narrator, the

consciousness of each character, and the direct or indirect

speech of each character. As with the definition of meta-

phor, the discrimination between these three contexts must

be indicated as a preliminary in the statement of methods

used in this study.

The Discrimination of Contexts

While the direct speech of dialogue is indicated

in the text by quotation marks and summarized or indirect

speech is, as a rule, fairly obvious, the discrimination

between the narrator's discourse and the representation of

create meaning. To image a situation
is to move toward mastery of it, to
make it more firmly possessed by con-
sciousness. The problem .
of determining whether a given image
proceeds from the character's conscious-
ness or from the narrator is therefore
quite important; the locus of the image
will indicate responsibility for the
creation of meaning. (p. 107)

Garrett's criticism of Wings on this point is highly selec-
tive and limited to a discussion of metaphors and words
related to acting. ("Henry James: The Creations of Con-
sciousness," Scene and Symbol from George Eliot to James
Joyce, Studies in Changing Fictional Mode [New
Haven, 1969], pp. 76-159). A different approach to context
is demonstrated in Priscilla Gibson's "The Uses of James's
Imagery: Drama Through Metaphor" (PMLA, 69 [1954], 1076-
1078). Gibson defines context in the Jamesian terms of
"picture" and "scene" or the particular situation in which
the metaphor is used (pp. 1077-1079).

the character's consciousness is sometimes difficult.

Large portions of the narrator's discourse can be identi-

fied on the basis of content; certain descriptions, evalu-

ations, and analyses clearly belong to the narrator. In

the same way, a sustained interior monologue is easily

identified. Representations of consciousness vary greatly

in length, however, and may include a mere phrase describ-

ing a mental state, several lines, or a sustained mono-

logue. And there is often an interweaving of narrative

description and the representation of consciousness that

is hard to unravel. The real difficulty in these cases

lies in discerning at what point the shift from narrator

to character occurs. In a sense, too, a narrative phrase

such as "she felt angry" is a description rather than a

presentation of consciousness and seems to belong to the

narrator's discourse in a way that sustained monologue,

where one clearly has the sense of the character speaking

in his own voice, does not.

For the purposes of analyzing metaphorical place-

ment, however, it is necessary to establish a consistent

system of determining context so that all metaphors relat-

ing to consciousness can be considered together. Just as

the full analysis of metaphors must begin with all poten-

tial metaphors, including those which are slight and ap-

parently insignificant as well as those which are well

developed and clearly significant, so the full analysis of

context must include the almost imperceptible dips into

consciousness as well as extended monologues. It is only

necessary to indicate that within the category of contexts

representing consciousness some are descriptive and more

or less interwoven into the narrator's discourse and some

are presentational and clearly separated from this dis-


In order to indicate how context has been determined,

a list of phrases and sentences which clearly indicate that

the narrator is speaking in his own voice is given below.

These examples are taken, in the order in which they appear,

from the first seven pages of Chapter I up to the point where

the dialogue begins. This list will be followed by a simi-

lar list of the phrases or sentences which effect the nar-

rative shift, either briefly or for extended periods, into

the representation of consciousness. In the phrases and

sentences given below, the narrator's discourse continues

from the point of the cited phrase until it is interrupted

by any one of a number of devices (to be discussed later)

which signal the movement into the character's conscious-

ness. The majority of these phrases and sentences are

descriptive of actions, objects, or circumstances. Those

which are evaluative or analytical are indicated in brackets.

1. She waited, Kate Croy, for her father
to come in .

2. She had looked at the sallow prints on
the walls .

3. Each time she turned in again

4. If she continued to wait .

5. The answer to these questions was not
in Chirk Street [analytical]

6. If she saw more things than her fine
face in the dull glass [analyti-

7. There was a minute during which though
her eyes were fixed .

8. When her father at last appeared .

9. He had not at present come down .

10. He was so particularly the English
gentleman [evaluative]

11. Kate's only actual expression of im-
patience, however, was .

The shifts from this mode of discourse into the

representation of consciousness are signaled or maintained

in three primary ways: by words describing the character's

thought processes or feelings, by the repetition of words

or phrases clearly identified as used by the character, and

by the pronouns you or one which occur frequently in the

representations of consciousness but not in narration.

The first indicator involves the use of words de-

scribing thought processes or feelings. When, for example,

the narrator uses a phrase such as "she felt," the focus

of the narrative clearly shifts from a description of ex-

ternals (physical objects, actions, circumstances) to a

description of a state of inner feeling. In cases where

the representation of consciousness is very short and inter-

polated in a longer passage purely in the narrator's dis-

course, the reader is aware that the narrator is telling

him about the character and the points of view of the nar-

rator and character momentarily coalesce. Only in passages

of sustained interior monologue is the sense of the presence

of the describing narrator substantially diminished or dis-

placed by the reader's sense of "overhearing" the "character

thinking." The following are examples of initial phrases

and sentences signaling this kind of shift in the first

seven pages of the novel. In order to indicate the shift

from narrator to consciousness more clearly and to maintain

the sense of the passages, the narrator's discourse which

precedes the shift into consciousness is included. The

representations of consciousness are underlined to indicate

the point at which the shift occurs.

1. She showed herself, in the glass over
the mantel, a face positively pale with
the irritation that had brought her to
the point of going away without sight
of him.

2. She remained; changing her place, moving
from the shabby sofa to the armchair
upholstered in a glazed cloth that gave
at once--she had tried it--the sense of
the slippery and the sticky.

3. The vulgar little street, in this view,
offered scant relief from the vulgar
little room; its main office was to sug-
gest to her that .

4. Each time she turned in again, each time,
in her impatience she gave him up, it was
to sound to a deeper depth .

5. If she continued to wait it was really,
in a manner, that she might not add the
shame of fear, of individual, personal
collapse to all the other shames. To
feel the street, to feel the room, to
feel the table-cloth and the centrepiece
gave her a small, salutary sense .

6. If she saw more things than her fine face
in the dull glass of her father's lodg-
ings, she might have seen that, after
all, she was not herself a fact in the
collapse. She didn't judge herself
cheap .

7. There was a minute during which, though
her eyes were fixed, she quite visibly
lost herself in the thought of the way
she might still pull things round had
she only been a man .. .

8. He had clearly wanted, for perversi-
ties that he called reasons, to see
her, just as she herself had sharpened
for a talk; but she now again felt .

9. He might have awaited her on the sofa
in his sitting-room, or might have
stayed in bed and received her in that
situation. She was glad to be spared
the sight of such penetralia.

10. She had, however, by this time, quite
ceased to challenge him; not only,
face to face with him, vain irritation
dropped, but he breathed upon the tragic
consciousness in such a way that after
a moment nothing of it was left.

11. The one stray gleam of comedy just now
in his daughter's eyes was the funny
feeling he momentarily made her have

While these examples illustrate the way in which

the shift of focus from external to internal is indicated

on a semantic level, i.e., by words describing inner

thoughts and feelings, the remaining two indicators of

consciousness function primarily to reinforce and maintain

this internal focus. They extend and substantiate, in

other words, the shift indicated by the verbal devices

illustrated above.

The first of these indicators involves the use of

repetition. One of the most effective kinds of repetition

involves the use of metaphors which appear and then re-

appear in a character's consciousness to indicate the con-

tinuity of thought. In two cases, metaphors appear and

are then extended when they reappear, rather than simply

repeated. These two metaphors are among the most striking

in the chapter. The first is used to concretize Kate's

apprehension of the sense of misery embodied in her father's

shabby rooms in Chirk Street.

And yet where was misery, misery too beaten
for blame and chalk-marked by fate like a
"lot" at a common auction, if not in
these merciless signs of mere mean, stale
feelings? (I, 4)

The second appears in Kate's comparison of her family's

history to a verbal and musical phrase.

Her father's life, her sister's, her own,
that of her two lost brothers--the whole
history of their house had the effect of
some fine, florid voluminous phrase, say
even a musical, that dropped first into
words, into notes, without sense, and
then hanging unfinished, into no words,
no notes at all. (I, 4)

Both metaphors occur in the first extended interior

monologue (24 lines) in the novel. This monologue begins

with the reiteration of the word feel, "To feel the street,

to feel the room, to feel the table-cloth," underlining

strongly that 'the focus is on Kate's internal response to

her surroundings, and concludes with her questioning for

the continuation of the family's apparently meaningless

and disastrous journey through life.

Why should a set of people have been put
in motion only to break down with-
out an accident, to stretch themselves
in the wayside dust without a reason?
(I, 5)

This final metaphor and the passage as a whole is clearly

placed as Kate's meditation by the subsequent sentence in

which the narrator's voice clearly reasserts itself: "The

answer to these questions [an indicator that they are

Kate's questions and not the narrator's] was not in Chirk

Street. ." (I, 5).

Clearly identified here as taking place in Kate's

thought processes, both the "auction" metaphor and the

metaphor of the "unfinished phrase" reappear some 40 lines

later in a six-line representation of consciousness.

She didn't judge herself cheap, she
didn't make for misery. Personally,
at least, she was not chalk-marked
for the auction. She hadn't given up
yet, and the broken sentence, if she
was the last word, would end with a
sort of meaning. (T, 6-

This linking of the two passages through repeated metaphors,

combined with the verbal devices indicating the initial

shift into consciousness in each, identifies both the long

monologue and the subsequent short passage as representing

Kate's, rather than the narrator's, metaphorical thinking.

A second repetition which acts, in a different but

nonetheless definite way to indicate James's conscious

manipulation of the three modes in the novel, occurs when

he picks up, not an extended metaphor, but a single word

from this first monologue and repeats it in the narrator's

discourse as though he were borrowing it from the charac-

ter herself. This borrowing is indicated by the use of

quotation marks suggesting that the word is not the nar-

rator's but quoted from the character. The repeated word

is "worst" and appears early in the monologue where it is

used twice.

This whole vision was the worst thing yet
and for what had she come but for
the worst? (I, 4, emphasis supplied)

It occurs again, in quotation marks, in the narrator's

analysis which immediately follows the monologue.

Was it not in fact the partial escape from
this "worst" in which she was steeped to
be able to make herself out again as
agreeable to see? (I, 5)

Interestingly enough, although the word worst does

not appear initially in a metaphorical context, James makes

it metaphorical when it is quoted later through the use of

the verb steeped. Both the repetition and the emphasis

achieved through metaphor thus function to call attention

not only to the semantic content but to the different modes

operating within the novel. This repetition in the nar-

rator's discourse of a word from a monologue as though it

were being actually quoted from the character is strong

evidence of the novelist's conscious use of the different

modes of discourse in the novel.

The final indicator of the mode of consciousness

is a grammatical rather than a semantic device and involves

the use of the pronouns you and one. Five of the eleven

representations of consciousness in these first seven pages

utilize these pronouns to indicate that it is the thought

processes of the character rather than the narrator speak-

ing with which the reader is confronted. In no instances

does the narrator use either pronoun. These five instances

are given below in the order in which they appear. Where

parts of the narrator's discourse are given to maintain

the sense of the passages, they are included in brackets.

1. [The vulgar little street, in this
view, offered scant relief from the
vulgar little room; its main office
was] to suggest to her that the nar-
row black house-fronts, adjusted to a
standard that would have been low even
for backs, constituted quite the pub-
licity implied by such privacies. One
felt them in the room exactly as one
felt the room--the hundred like it,
or worse--in the street. (I, 4)

2. But she now again felt, in the inevita-
bility of the freedom he used with her,
all the old ache, her poor mother's
very own, that he couldn't touch you
ever so lightly without setting up.
No relation with him could be so short

or so superficial as not to be somehow
to your hurt; and this, in the strangest
way in the world, not because he desired
it to be--feeling often, as he surely
must, the profit for him of its not
being--but because there was never a
mistake for you that he could leave un-
made or a conviction of his impossibility
in you that he could approach you without
strengthening. (I, 7)

3. The inconvenience--as always happens in
such cases--was not that you minded what
was false, but that you missed what was
true. He might be ill, and it might
suit you to know it. (I, 7-8)

4. His perfect look, which had floated him
so long, was practically perfect still;
but one had long since for every occas-
sion taken it for granted. Nothing
could have better shown than the actual
how right one had been. (I, 8)

5. He gave you funny feelings, he had in-
describable arts, that quite turned the
tables. (I, 9, emphasis supplied)

The key elements in the use of these pronouns is

that they are a recognized way of talking about oneself,

a substitute, in fact, for the pronoun I in direct dis-

course. They are clearly not appropriate to the narrator's

discourse because, in this novel at any rate, he is never

describing himself or his own experience. They serve fur-

ther to create a sense of intimacy between the character

and the reader. You brings the reader into a kind of ver-

bal alliance with the character because it is the pronoun

form used in conversation and direct address. One operates

somewhat differently but functions to communicate the sense

that the feeling described would be shared if "one" found

oneself in the situation described. The comparable pro-

noun device used to create a very different kind of inti-

macy between the narrator and the reader is the plural

pronoun our as in "our heroine."

As the length of this discussion of the discrimina-

tion of contexts suggests, the proof that a particular

passage belongs to either the narrator or the character's

consciousness both requires space and makes considerable

demands on the reader's time and attention. It would be

tedious as well as excessive to continue to prove the

nature of each context throughout this study. The close

analysis of these first seven pages is offered, therefore,

as an example of the method which has been employed and

followed as objectively and conscientiously as possible

in reaching the conclusions stated in the following pages.

While this discrimination can be extremely difficult to

make at some points, and I have noted the problems encoun-

tered when the location of a particular metaphor is in-

volved, the context of most if not all metaphors can be

determined with reasonable certainty. That no sustained

critical effort to identify this context in a particular

text has, to my knowledge, been made seems to have derived

from a general assumption that it is not possible. The

See, for example, p. 199, fn. 3 in the analysis
of Chapter XXX.

few cases of extreme difficulty, which may, in fact, be

impossible to resolve, have obscured the much larger number

of instances where, at least in regard to individual meta-

phors, the discrimination can be made. One critic of James

writes, for example,

Any attempt to delimit with precision
the boundaries between the centers' ex-
pressions of their own thoughts and the
narrator's presentation of theme, or
indeed even his comments, ends in much
uncertainty and confusion .In the
later James it is often very difficult
to say whether we have a descriptive
image from the narrator or one that is
part of a center's thought.12

My own experience in working with this problem indicates

that it is only sometimes rather than "often" difficult

to identify the context of a particular metaphor and that

these occasional difficulties do not invalidate the basic

method of approaching metaphorical analysis through the

use of the three contexts suggested here.

Definition of Metaphorical Types

The classification of metaphors on the basis of

grammatical structure is the subject of Christine

Brooke-Rose's impressive study, A Grammar of Metaphor

Leo Bersani, "The Narrator as Center in The
Wings of the Dove," Modern Fiction Studies, 6 (1960),
131, 134.

(London, 1958). The study focuses on the work of fifteen

poets and presents ten major classes of metaphor with a

formidable number'of subclasses in each3 to provide a

paradigm of all possible types of metaphor. My own method

of analyzing metaphorical types is much more limited.

In the first place, I am dealing with one prose

text and concerned with the types of metaphor used in this

text rather than with all possible types. Secondly, the

classification into types has been undertaken primarily in

order to develop a system through which the kinds of

metaphors used in each of the three contexts can be iden-

tified and their frequency determined. Because my analy-

sis involves two steps--(1) the determination of type,

and (2) the placement of the metaphor--the number of

classifications must remain small enough to be manageable.

Focusing initially on the grammatical nature of

the word with which the metaphor actually seems to begin,

i.e., the point where a "semantic absurdity" exists, the

following eight types have been isolated:

1. Noun-Simple

2. Noun-Expanded

3. Noun Clich6

For example, five main types of noun metaphor
are defined by Brooke-Rose: "(1) Simple Replacements,
(2) The Pointing Formulae, (3) The Copula, (4) The Link
with 'To Make,' (5) The Genitive" (p. 24).

4. Verb-Simple

5. Verb-Expanded

6. Verb Cliche

7. Adjective (Adverb)

8. Personification

This list includes one category, that of personifi-

cation, which is not grammatical. This category has seemed

necessary because personifications operate differently from

other metaphorical types. The reasons for this different

classification are given in the definition of personifi-

cation below. Further, no distinction has been drawn be-

tween explicit metaphors in which the comparison is stated

(as in similes) and implicit metaphors.14

The use of a grammatical basis for types, rather

than number of words involved (as in Alex Holder's article,

"On the Structure of Henry James's Metaphors"),15 is based

14 originally made this distinction in analyzing
each metaphor, but found that it increased the number of
classes and complicated the issue without revealing any
meaningful data on either placement or function. This
particular discrimination between metaphors seemed to be,
therefore, at least one difficult and complicating factor
which could be removed without harm to the study as a whole.

5Mr. Holder uses grammatical terms in analyzing
James's metaphors, but categorizes these figures by the
number of metaphorical elements involved.

If we divide, for the sake of this article,
some of James's images into their metaphor-
ical components we can separate them into

on the fact that parts of speech function differently in

metaphor and this seems the key issue where placement is

concerned rather than the number of words involved. Noun

metaphors, for example, generally operate to value, dis-

value, or characterize the metaphor's literal referent by

describing it in terms of something else. The juxtaposi-

tion of people with animals or nature, as in statements

such as "He is a beast" or "My love is like a red, red

rose," is one of the most common means of conveying value.

The use of verbs, on the other hand, tends to render de-

scriptions of processes such as acting or feeling more

vivid and precise. When James describes Lionel Croy's

moving away from Kate as his "taking refuge," "He turned

away from her, on this, and as he had done before, took

refuge, by the window, in a stare at the street" (I, 23),

the metaphor conveys and vivifies the felt nature and in-

tensity of the experience described rather than assigning

to it any particular value. A verb metaphor may carry

three major categories. A first category
comprises metaphors of the kind quoted
above, that is images of only one meta-
phorical element. By element we mean here
one word only, be it a noun, an adjective
or a verb, used with a metaphorical mean-
ing. The second category includes all
those images which make use of a combina-
tion of any two of the elements mentioned
above, or of all three of them. The third
category contains metaphors with more than
two or three elements. (English Studies,
41 [1960], 289)

implications of value, of course, but it does so in much

less obvious ways than noun metaphors which compare per-

sons or objects more directly. Further, most metaphors

seem to be centered on either a noun, verb, or adjective

although their development necessarily utilizes other parts

of speech.


Noun-Simple (NS)

A simple noun metaphor consists of one noun used

with or without additional words, such as adjectives, which

support the metaphor and either qualify it or allow it

to make sense, but are not in themselves metaphorical.

Very few NS metaphors can exist purely alone, without

semantic support of some form in the text. Whether the

metaphor is simple or expanded, however, depends on whether

or not the supporting words extend and develop the metaphor

by being themselves metaphorical or simply contribute

their meaning to the sense of the passage in question.

Among the simplest examples of this type would be Lionel

Croy's equation of himself with a business "asset": "There

was a day when a man like me would have been for a

daughter like you a quite distinct value; what's called

in the business world, I believe, an 'asset.'"l6 The addi-

tion of an adjective, as in Kate's comment "I'm not so pre-

cious a capture," allows for greater precision of descrip-

tion, but does not essentially change the basic nature of

the metaphor as that of a simple noun type. Simple noun

metaphors may also utilize the genitive construction, as

in the phrases "an undue precipitation of memory" or "a

funny flare of appreciation," or a prepositional phrase

such as "her drop into patience." There are obviously

many other possible variations of the NS metaphor, but it

is essentially centered in one noun which creates a discern-

ible juxtaposition between two worlds. When, for example,

Kate describes herself as "not so precious a capture,"

the equation Life:Battle is clearly suggested, an analogy

which operates again and again throughout the novel. In

most cases, the NS metaphor will create a similar analogy

in which the literal term will receive a value or set of

values associated with the figurative term.

In examples of metaphors cited throughout this
text, the metaphorical words have been underlined to facil-
itate the focus on metaphorical elements. Further, from
this point in the text, page references will not ordinarily
be given since these are readily accessible in the listing
of all metaphors, by chapter, context, and type, in Appen-
dix B. References will be given for other passages not
reproduced there or in cases where a reference might be
helpful or appropriate.

Noun-Expanded (NE)

An expanded noun metaphor centers initially in

an obviously metaphorical noun but is expanded by the use

of additional nouns, verbs, or adjectives which are also

metaphorical. These additional words serve to extend and

develop the metaphor rather than simply allow it to make

sense. One of the most frequent NE metaphors consists of

a metaphorical noun followed by some verbal form which is

also used metaphorically. The following are examples of

this type:

"Well, what a cruel, invidious treaty
it is for you to sign."

"One doesn't give up the use of a spoon
because one's reduced to living on broth.
And your spoon, that is your aunt, please
consider, is partly mine as well."

"If I offer you to efface myself, it's for
the final, fatal sponge that I ask,
well-saturated and well-applied."

Like the NS metaphor, this type is also subject to

variations and does not always follow this form. This

form illustrates most clearly, however, the difference

between an NS and NE metaphor. If we take even a rela-

tively simple NE metaphor and alter the wording to make it

classifiable as NS, the loss in effect, in the weight of

implication, is marked. In Lionel Croy's exhortation to

Kate not to spoil their chances with Aunt Maud, he begins

by mocking her offer to come and live with him as foolish,

self-congratulatory idealism.

"You can describe yourself--to yourself--
as, in a fine flight, giving up your aunt
for me; but what good, I should like to
know, would your fine flight do me?"

After a brief comment by the narrator, Mr. Croy continues.

"We're not possessed of so much, at this
charming pass, please to remember, as
that we can afford not to take hold of
any perch held out to us.

The metaphor here exists in the use of the terms "flight,"

"take hold of," and "perch held out to us." If this figure

were reduced to a simple noun metaphor, and only one of

the figurative terms retained, Mr. Croy's comment might be

phrased, with due apology to James, in the following way:

"Your offer to give up your aunt for me
is absurd. And what good would it do
me? We can't afford not to take advan-
tage of any available perch."

Introducing the metaphor by the allusions to Kate's "fine

flight," and developing and extending it by the verbs

"take hold of" and "held out to us," both sustains the

figure, thereby calling attention to it, and implies the

precarious nature of the Croys' situation and the role

played in their lives by Aunt Maud, the ominous holder of

the perch. A few lines later, in another NE metaphor,

Aunt Maud is similarly compared to the "spoon" serving to

keep them both alive. In general, NE metaphors such as

these clearly call attention to themselves simply by the

space they require and the number of lexical items in-


Noun-Clich6s (NC)

The noun cliche is centered in a noun, but has to

be distinguished from other noun types because the rele-

vancy of its simplicity or expansion is negated by its

predictability. Cliches are ready-made phrases which re-

main cliches only so long as their word order and content

are repeated according to a recognizable pattern. Lionel

Croy uses a metaphoric cliche when he describes his idea

of how Kate should conduct herself with Aunt Maud as "the

basket with all my eggs my conception, in short, of

your duty." Noun cliches are used rather infrequently in

the four chapters analyzed and function primarily to sug-

gest colloquial speech.

Verb-Simple (VS)

The simple verb metaphor consists of a single verb

used without any metaphorical nouns or other parts of

speech. Subjects and objects of these verbs are used in

their literal senses. This is the most frequently used

metaphorical type in Chapter I and its function is' pri-

marily to render descriptions of thoughts, feelings, and

actions more vivid and to suggest the kinds of forces,

both personal and impersonal, operating both on and within

the characters. As noun metaphors tend to convey values,

verb metaphors tend to convey the sense of individuals as

both acting and being acted upon in ways which adumbrate

the play of forces within the novel. The VS metaphors in

Chapter I represent a rather strikingly negative view of

man as a creature who is or may be "steeped," "floated,"

"surrendered," "kept off," "wound up," "built on," and

"hustled." In the one instance where the verb has posi-

tive connotations, when Kate tells her father "You flourish,"

it is used ironically since Lionel Croy's actual state has

clearly been suggested by direct description as sordid,

mean, and ugly.

Verb-Expanded (VE)

The expanded verb metaphor is initiated by a verb

and then extended by other words used metaphorically.

When only one verb is used but it is repeated, the metaphor

is counted as an expanded verb metaphor in which the expan-

sion is achieved through repetition rather than through

the use of other parts of speech.

Like the VS metaphors, the more extended VE meta-

phors both vivify descriptions and have thematic value as

suggestions of forces operating within the novel's fictive

world. As with the VS metaphors the elements of experi-

ence receiving this kind of emphasis in Chapter I are

largely negative and have to do with failure, danger, risk,

and collapse. It is the "failure of fortune and honour"

which Kate "sounds to a deeper depth." She attempts to

"find a foothold for clinging" to her father, as though

the effort of maintaining a human relationship with him

were equivalent in difficulty to climbing a mountain. As

a passive figure she sees herself as one of a set of people

"put in motion only to break down without an accident"

and subject to being, although not yet, "chalk-marked for

the auction." Although largely an active figure, who deals

out "lies as he might the cards from the greasy old pack

for the game of diplomacy" and admonishes Kate that "The

only way to play the game is to play it," Lionel Croy is

still forced, at one point in their conversation, to "take

refuge" from the verbal battle of their dialogue "in a

stare at the street."

This play of motion in thought, feeling, and action

in the novel is given both solidity and emotional impact

through the concreteness of these expanded verb metaphors.

Verb-Clich6s (VC)

Verb cliches have been isolated from other verb

metaphors because, as with the noun cliches, their struc-

ture is predictable. They can be used only to suggest

colloquial speech, but their metaphoric potential is often

exploited to create the kind of emotional intensity which

can be expressed through the strong, direct, and often

highly physical language employed by these figures. The

following exchange between Kate and her father in Chapter I

exemplifies this use of this metaphoric type:

"I'll engage with you in respect to my
aunt exactly to what she wants of me in
respect to you. She wants me to choose.
Very well, I will choose. I'll wash my
hands of her for you to just that tune."

He at last brought himself round.
"Do you know, dear, you make me sick?
I've tried to be clear, and it isn't fair."

But she passed this over; she was too
visibly sincere. "Father!"

"I don't quite see what's the matter
with you," he said, "and if you can't
ull yourself together I'll--upon my
onour--take you in hand. Put you into
a cab and deliver you again safe at Lan-
caster Gate." (I, 23)

Kate's use of the cliche "I'll wash my hands of her" under-

lines, through the very simplicity of the language to which

she has been reduced, the desperation of her attempt to

free herself from Mrs. Lowder's influence. The accumula-

tion of other examples of this metaphoric type in Lionel

Croy's spoken response to her both creates and emphasizes

his brutality and the intensity of his determination to use

her, almost as he would use a physical object, to achieve

his own ends.

Adjective (Adverb) (Adj/Adv)

The adjective or adverb metaphor is the simplest

metaphorical type and consists of one or more words used

to qualify a literal subject or action. Although these

metaphors may be expanded to communicate a character's

exploration of the particular quality sensed in a given

perception, they are generally simple in form. Such

adjective metaphors often convey more about the user than

the subject to which they apply. They appear frequently

in Lionel Croy's conversation where he describes Aunt Maud

as an "elephantine snob," the chemist at the corner as

"beastly," and the society surrounding Aunt Maud as "all

you hard, hollow people together."

Personification (Pers)

As indicated earlier, this metaphorical type is

not identified in grammatical terms. Because a personifi-

cation projects animate qualities (generally human) on an

inanimate subject, it operates as a miniature dramatiza-

tion which momentarily creates a new actor on the scene

and thus changes the whole framework of the metaphor's

grammatical structure. The nouns and verbs utilized in

creating a personification are significant to the personifi-

cation and not to the novel's action. It is the personifi-

cation itself, the values and intensifications which it

suggests, which relate to the action, not the particular

structure of the figure. Also, it is difficult to isolate

metaphorical components in a personification because the

personification is ordinarily metaphorical in its entirety.

It is for this reason that metaphorical components
are not underlined in the personifications quoted.

Personifications function in general as a means of

analysis and are recognized examples of a distinctly lit-

terary, i.e., written rather than spoken, device. A per-

sonification is also generally a condensation of a complex

situation or phenomenon and provides an insight into its

essential nature. The following personification is used

by the narrator to describe Lionel Croy's general rela-

tionship to life:

Life has met him so, half-way, and had
turned round so as to walk with him,
placing a hand in his arm and fondly
leaving him to choose the pace.

A similar personification occurs when Kate analyzes her

feelings about the effect of her father's character and

behavior on their family name.

It was the name, above all, she would take
in hand--the precious name she so liked
and that, in spite of the harm her wretched
father had done it, was not yet past pray-
ing for. She loved it the more tenderly
for that bleeding wound.

The classification of metaphors into these eight

basic types was developed in order to explore at least

some aspects of metaphoric structure and to provide a

workable approach to the systematic study of the use of

metaphor in the three basic modes of discourse. A complete

listing of all the metaphors identified in the four chap-

ters appears in Appendix B. The Appendix is arranged in

four sections, one for each chapter, and the metaphors

listed according to context and type in each section.


Since every metaphor identified is not analyzed or fully

quoted in the discussion of each chapter, this list is

provided to allow the reader full and direct access to

the total metaphoric content of each chapter with which

this study is concerned.



Distribution of Metaphorical Types

This initial and essentially quantitative analysis

of the distribution of metaphorical types in Chapter I is

offered both as a model for comparison and as an attempt

to provide the reader with a working knowledge of the

various components of metaphorical placement with which

this study is concerned. So many variables are involved,

not the least of which is the difference in weight and

effectiveness of individual metaphors, that it will be

helpful to demonstrate as quickly as possible both the

kinds of quantitative differences which can occur and some

of the ways in which the various types function in the

three contexts. The somewhat technical nature of the

observations made here will also establish the necessary

frame of reference for the more interpretive analysis

of Chapter I and subsequent chapters which follows.

It is important to state at the outset that the

actual numbers of metaphors cited should not be viewed

as incontrovertible mathematical facts. There is always