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Metaphor and mind style in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1996
Issue number1
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)143-166
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


A number of different studies of narrative fiction have highlighted the role played by lexical, syntactic and transitivity patterns in the creation of what Fowler has called mind style: "any distinctive linguistic presentation of an individual mental self" (Fowler, Linguistics and the Novel 103). Although it has received scant attention in studies of mind style, metaphor can also contribute to the projection of characteristic and possibly deviant ways of perceiving and conceptualising the world. The theory of metaphor developed by Lakoff, Johnson and Turner (Lakoff and Johnson, Lakoff and Turner) has important implications for a theory of mind style, since it can be used to account for the cognitive implications of consistent metaphorical patterns in texts. On the other hand, the notion of mind style is highly relevant to the cognitive approach to metaphor, since it highlights the way in which Lakoff and Johnson's claims concerning the connections between conventional metaphors and culture can be applied to the connections between non-conventional uses of metaphor and individual world views. A detailed analysis of the language of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest shows how metaphorical patterns are used to create the idiosyncratic mind style of the novel's first person narrator and to chart his development throughout the novel.