According to the metaphor concepts which I suggest are relevant in this context, the explosion is a concrete presentation which signifies the abstract meaning: how A feels about B and C’s love affair
I call this type of blend reverse metaphor because the cognitive task here is to arrive at a metaphorical interpretation of literal meaning. In Portrait of the Artist, for instance, literal meaning is arrived at through metaphor, which is the opposite interpretive operation. The myth of Icarus, the major theme in the book, signifies Stephen’s ‘life project’. By analyzing the metaphor we get a literal understanding of Stephen’s situation. The result is a revenge that is particularly meaningful.57 The water theme is exploited to the fullest. At a first glance the title suggests a nominal meaning of the word ‘water’ but it turns out that the only time it occurs in the text (in sentence 6) it occurs as a transitive verb. While water has nominal meaning in the HeC space (“the river”), suggesting stability, the meaning is verbal in the HoC space which is action oriented. This difference emphasizes the contrast between the two spaces; one serves as background for the other. In a sense, water ‘flows’ from the HeC space into the HoC space where the agreement between A and C that A water his plants is the premise for A’s 57 See Mark Turner’s The Literary Mind for an analysis of a similar instance: the man with the severed head in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Turner 1996.
Two aspects of comparison need to be distinguished: the intertextual aspect (comparison with other texts) and the aspect having to do with the textual meaning as relating to some intersubjective domain of experience
revenge scheme. The title thus indicates the author’s ironic comment to the plot: the act of watering plants is replaced by another, less placid act.
5.3 Global interpretation The story (cf. the Plot blend) is presented in a linguistic form which has an effect on how the text is interpreted as a whole. The stylistic aspect is taken into consideration in determining the affective ‘temperature’ which indicates the narrator’s attitude towards the act of telling. At a more general level, the style and composition of the text guides the reader to infer the textual genre. Firstly, whether it is fiction or non-fiction; an assessment which is crucial for the reader’s reconstruction of the overall enounciational structure. And secondly, which ‘sub-genre’ it belongs to; in this case the short-short genre. In interpreting the text, the reader relates it to something outside the text to which it can be compared. The text is interpreted as signifying something about some aspect of the human life-world (HLW) and this generalization yields its meaning. As regards the former aspect (intertextuality), the text is comparable with other texts with respect to narrative technique and textual meaning, respectively. 5.3.1 Textual rhetoric The prose in Water is about as ‘concrete’ as it can get – the few metaphors that present themselves at the linguistic level are so entrenched they are hardly noticable (e.g. “His former girlfriends have turned into lesbians” – change in terms of body movement), and they are all verb metaphors: turn into, interrupt and (nothing) left. The sentences are simple and easily parsed. Out of twenty sentences only three have embedded clauses (two of them have one embedded clause – #6 and 14 – and the last sentence has two). Almost all sentences denote actions, and more than half of the verbs are transitive with a concrete object (e.g. “I unlock the door and bolt it behind me.”). The few exceptions are the sentences with a copula verb – which all have locative rather than predicative meaning (e.g. “In the kitchen is a gas stove.”) – and sentences 11, 18 and 20 where the verbs denote subjective content (smelling and knowing). There are only three occurrences of adverbs: the one-syllable adverbs “just” and “soon” (sentences 8, 15 and 16), and only three adjectives, two of which are derived from verbs: “burnt” and “kissing”. The word kissing used as an adjective is particularly odd: 78