Drawing Out Metaphors – Week 1

During this second summer session, I’m teaching a graduate course on metaphor and thought to 9 English graduate students.  Here’s the syllabus.  One of the requirements of the course prompts students to include handmade responses to at least half of their reading responses which they post in their course blogs.  I am creating handmade responses as well, and during the first week of classes, I’ve drawn the following in response to the course readings.

Handmade Response to Chapters 1-4 in Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By

Handmade Response to Chapters 5-8 in Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By

Handmade Response to Chapter 1 “The Neural Theory of Metaphor” by Lakoff in Gibb’s The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought.  Thesis: “…developments in brain science and neural computation have vastly enriched our understanding of how conceptual metaphor works” (17).  In other words, using the metaphor of the “brain as motherboard” can help us understand how metaphors are hardwired into brain function.

Here also are some sketches from my notes as I attempted to map out the equations and circuits of the examples from this neural theory of metaphor.

Handmade Response to Chapter 2 “Philosophy’s Debt to Metaphor” by Johnson in Gibb’s The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought.  Thesis: “Philosophers must use the same conceptual resources possessed by any human being, and the potential for any philosophy to make sense of a person’s life depends directly on the fact that all of us are metaphoric animals” (39).  In other words, any philosophical theory that dismisses the role of metaphor in human comprehension (like objectivist/literalist philosophies) are missing the boat, metaphorically speaking.

The point of all of this is not that my illustrations and handmade responses necessarily communicate to other folks what I am experiencing as a reader or what they should focus on and remember from the same reading, but that “visual thinking as drawing” is a powerful tool that can assist reading engagement and comprehension.