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A Corpus—based Analysis of the Images in Silvia Plath's Poems from the Perspective of Mapping Theory

作者:第一论文网 更新时间:2015年10月26日 21:04:51

Abstract:Nowadays, more and more attention has been focused on Silvia Plath, who is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and leading a mysterious life at the same time. This paper analyses the images in Silvia Plath’s poems from the perspective of mapping theory with a self-built corpus. The goal of this paper is to conclude the main themes of Silvia Plath’s poems by means of analyzing her poems with the help of a self-built corpus from the perspective of mapping theory, which is divided into three types: the projection mappings, the pragmatic function mappings and schematic mappings. 
  Key words:images, Silvia Plath, poems, mapping theory, corpus 
  1. Chapter One Introduction 
  This paper analyses the images in Silvia Plath’s poems from the perspective of mapping theory with a self-built corpus. The goal of this paper is to conclude the main themes of Silvia Plath’s poems by means of analyzing her poems with the help of a self-built corpus from the perspective of mapping theory, which is divided into three types: the projection mappings, the pragmatic function mappings and schematic mappings. This paper also attempts to clearly introduce three types of mappings and relative cognitive mechanisms and analyze the realization of themes by the cognitive mechanisms in Silvia Plath’s poems. 
  2. Chapter Two Data Analysis and Findings 
  2.1 Projection Mappings and Theme Realization in Silvia Plath’s Poems 
  Projection mappings project part of the structure of one cognitive domain onto another. Its basis is the cognitive similarities between the two domains. Metaphor is a typical type of projection mapping. A metaphor is an imaginative way of describing something by referring to something else which is the same in a particular way. For example, Mark Twain’s work is a mirror of America. As mentioned above, among the 100 selected poems, there are 67 places where the application of the projection mapping is presented. When the annotation “a” is searched in the corpus, they will be presented. The following are some typical annotated examples. 
  Example 1: 
  Map like, the far fields are ruled 
  By correct green lines and no seedy free-for-all 
  Of asparagus heads. Cars run their suave 
  Colored beads on the strung roads, and the people stroll 
  Straightforwardly across the springing green. 
  ——Above the Oxbow (1958) 
  The poet compared the tyres of cars on the road to “suave colored beads on the strung roads”. This poem was written in 1958, when she was still immersed in the happiness of marriage. It is not difficult to see her felicific mood from this metaphor. Cars belong to vehicle domain, and beads belong to another domain. The poet connected these two domains together. And the metaphor can show the happy mood of the poet more obviously than just using “the tyres of cars” 2.2 Pragmatic Function Mappings and Theme Realization in Silvia Plath’s Poems 
  Pragmatic function mappings involve only one cognitive domain in which one thing is matched with another in the same domain according to their cognitive relevance. It is usually presented in the forms of metonymy and synecdoche. Metonymy is the substitution of a word referring to an attribute for the thing that is meant, as for example the use of the crown to refer to a monarch or the use of the purse to refer to money. Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part is substituted for a whole or a whole for a part, as in hands for people or the army for a soldier. The following are some typical annotated examples. 
  Example 2: 
  The fallen timbers of its once remarkable 
  Funicular railway, witness to gone 
  Time, and to graces gone with the time. 
  People stroll 
  Straightforwardly across the springing green. 
  All's peace and discipline down there. 
  ——Above the Oxbow (1958) 
  In these two stanzas, there are two metonymies. In the first stanza, “graces gone with the time” refers to people gone with the time, because we know grace belongs to people particularly. In the second stanza, “the springing green” refers to forests. This part of speech, or we say, the usage of pragmatic function, makes the lines more graceful and polished, thus making the images more vivid and beautiful. 
  2.3 Schematic Mappings and Theme Realization in Silvia Plath’s Poems 
  Schematic mapping operate when the concrete values in a situation in context are matched with the slots in a schema based on one-to-one model. It is used the least, because after all, it is the most complicated structure among the three. When the annotation “c” is searched in the corpus, they will be presented. The following is a typical annotated example. 
  Example 3: 
  Another kind of redness bothers me: 
  The day your slack sail drank my sister's breath 
  The flat sea purpled like that evil cloth 
  My mother unrolled at your last homecoming. 
  ——Electra on Azalea Path (1959) 
  This is still the poem in which Plath misses her dead father. In this annotated stanza, she said the slack sail drank her sister’s breath, which implies diabetes takes away her father’s life. 
  3. Chapter Three Conclusion 
  This paper studies the main themes of Silvia Plath’s poems by means of analyzing her poems from the perspective of mapping theory, which is divided into three types: the projection mappings, the pragmatic function mappings and schematic mappings. In order to make the research reliable and authentic, a small monolingual annotated corpus is built. Both quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis are used to analyze the data and poems. Several findings are discovered. 
  Since this is my first research with the help of a self-built corpus, there may be some limitations. For example, the poems are annotated by myself, and there may be some inevitable omission during the annotation among 100 poems. However, it does help to summarize the main images and themes of Silvia Plath’s poems.