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A Comparative Study of Metaphors of Love and Nature

The study of metaphor has started to attract the scholars attention since the ancient times. Aristotle, who in his famous works Poetics, gives his definition of metaphor: Metaphor consists in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else; the transference being either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or on grounds of analogy(Lan, 2005). His view stands for the traditional opinion of metaphor, which considers it as a figure of speech, which could be mastered by orators or writers. Richards (1936) in his book The Philosophy of Rhetoric proposes Interaction Theory also asserts that the essence of metaphor lies in an interaction between a metaphorical expression and the context in which it is used. The Interaction Theory arises from a correct observation in that as for a conventional metaphor which links a source domain and a target domain, speaking about the source domain alone may bring to mind the target domain. The pro-traditional-metaphor scholars hold that metaphor is merely a rhetoric phenomenon, a transference from one word to another, and a device to enhance forcefulness of expressions. Since 1980s, Lakoff and Johnson (1980) through their famous book Metaphors We Live by, elevated metaphor studies to a new level and rocked to the core studies of metaphor in linguistic field, attributing to their interpretation of metaphor system in the line of cognition named modern metaphor and proposes that metaphor is a matter of thought and action rather than a device of poetic imagination and the rhetoric flourish. Kovecses (1986) presents a demonstration that emotions such as anger, pride and love are conceptualized structure in everyday language. All these studies illustrate the cognitive idea of metaphor, i.e. metaphor mediates human understanding and world view (Lan, 2005). Metaphors produce new insights and new hypotheses internally, whereas externally they act as mediators between the human mind and culture, states Mac Cormac (1985:2). In other words, metaphor helps human beings connect the matters in the world; at the very beginning, it helps human to connect basic natural elements with fundamental symbols, then these basic domains were applied to connect other matters, especially those more abstract ones, such as the human emotionand the most primitive emotion of human beings is different kinds of love. Since we use basic domains to express love, then do we express different kinds of love by different metaphors; if the answer is positive, then what are the most common metaphors we use, do people from different culture background use various metaphors to express different loves. Those are the questions that will be investigated in this paper; and by comparing different love metaphors, the thesis tries to peek into the national mentalities of people with different culture backgrounds. The author believes that the easiest way to investigate national mentalities is to explore religious materials, so the main references applied in this paper will be from Bible and the Analects of Confucius, Mencius and Chuang Tzu, as well as British National Corpus. There have been different explanations of metaphors, it is transfer carry over; its the way to use domain to reflect target; its the way how people think, and even something we live by. This paper follows the definition that, metaphor is more a thinking pattern than just a figure of speech.

When there is something too abstract to explain, we naturally pick up and organize the symbols we are familiar with, and make it easier to express, this process could be defined as metaphor, also the symbols used for expressions can also be named metaphor. The term metaphor studied in this thesis refers to the more specific symbols. Comparative studies concerning metaphors of animals and plants have been done by many scholars, while the metaphors about the vital elements for human emergence and development have not been investigated thoroughly. The vital natural elements that will be studies in this paper include the sun, the moon, water, air, fire, wood, earth, some mineral factors, and food. Those factors are closely related to the survival and development of human beings, so people are familiar with them, some of the primitive tribes worship those elements, and some awe them like gods. Therefore, the symbols for those basic elements gradually developed into the central domain, from which people reflect matters they cant comprehend or difficult to express. The hypothesis of the paper is that the expression of love usually is overlapped with the metaphors of nature. The study will focus on the relations of metaphors of love and nature in different cultures, which would to certain extent reflect the national mentality. Theoretically, the study of metaphors about love and nature will contribute in improving peoples awareness about the metaphors around ourselves, metaphors in life. Besides, the comparison between different metaphors of love and nature can be helpful in the study of the comparison of culture and national mentalities. The author of the thesis believes that the best way to understand one culture it to go to the source of its civilization, and the use of literary language is the most vivid way to reflect peoples prospective of the world. While among all the literary language, metaphor is the wisdom of people, and therefore contains more cultural elements, and metaphors about love and nature probably arrived into the language system at the very first, then based on them, lots of new metaphors are developed. So the author assumes that the investigation of metaphors of love and nature is the better way to reveal national mentalities. Practically, the study of metaphors about love and nature could improve the understanding of the culture background of one language. Since the main function of language is communication, the understanding of certain metaphor is indispensable in realizing successful and impact communication. It would help people to avoid offending others, better appreciating humors, understanding the words within the dialogues in cross-culture communication. Take water for example. In Bible, water themes describe mystic-state sensation, upon being submerged in water, there is an entire change in sensation. Air no longer is felt against the skin, breath is no longer possible, vision is changed, and there is a loss of positionality. Besidesthe turbulent sea is a descriptive metaphor for self-control seizure during the mystic state of loose cognition. To calm the storm, one must sacrifice and repudiate one's belief in freewill moral agency, and postulate a divine compassionate level of being or control above and outside of the deterministic cosmos. Water is actually the most frequently used metaphor in Bible, it represents truth and knowledge. In Bible, vine metaphorically means the Lord's people, which need spiritual watering and nurturing. In the Jesuss words "Whosoever drinketh of this water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing

up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). That water refers to his Gospel, which is the knowledge of how to "grow" into "everlasting life."
While in the Analects of Confucius, both similar and different metaphors of water can be found. Analects of ConfuciusA man with wisdom prefers water which is similar to the water metaphor in Bible, water also represents wisdom and knowledge. The difference lies in the perceiving angles, in Bible, the sensation when people is underwater is emphasized, while in Analects, the original form and dynamic movement of the water, especially the river, has received more attention. For, example: Analects of Confucius Water continuously flows through day and night. In this sentence, water is clearly connected with the unstopping time, though we can also find similar metaphors in English like the time flows.

According to Mencius, water can also be interpreted as persistence, always striving to go forward, and courageous. Water is the mostly used metaphor in the classics Chinese literature, and it usually is related to morality. In Confuciuss answer to one of his students, he said: water irrigate every plants on the earth, it raises up lives and cultures civilization, but never ask for return, so water is selfishness and merciful. Water always flows in a certain track, it stands for principle. The deep water cant be see through, its mysterious and full of wisdom. It runs for abyss without a single ounce of fear, its courageous. It clears all the foul and filthy, its tolerant and cultivating. The surface of water always returns to horizontal, it represents justice. From the above statement, we can tell that how important water is in Chinese culture, and it contains so many different virtues. After the comparison of water in English and Chinese, we can take a further view into the love metaphors which contains water, what kind of love is mostly demonstrated by water symbol in English and Chinese. In English, the romance, or love between men and women is often compared to water or fluid. For example: She was filled with love. Warm feelings welled up inside him. He poured out his affections on her. She couldn't hold in her love for him any longer. Waves of passion came over him. She was carried away by love. The above are the expressions of love with water-related components, the function and form of water or fluid have been used for how to handle love; water itself is not very obviously applied in the sentences. While in China, as we believe that love is a tender thing, which could be attributed to the sphere Yin, and water as the main representative image of Yin, is mostly used to stand for romancelove between men and women, examples could be found in most of the Chinese literatures:

- My love lives on the other side of the river, the way to her heart is long and winded. Knowing not the returning date, only the non-stopping raining through the night. Still weeping tears of blood about our separation// little red love-beans of my desolation. In Chinese poems, romance is often expressed through river, rain, and dew. The separation of lovers or couples is compared to being separated by a river. And water is often used to reflect the sexual life of a couple: Thus every sexual transport of cloud and rain is in the inevitable climax of love of beauty and desire. By looking into the romance metaphors with water as a component, more instances could be found in Chinese literature than in English. It has been investigated and concluded by some of the scholars that, Chinese national mentality is more introvert in expressing romantic love, and the form and nature of water is gentle and quiet, which more suitable for Chinese people to express romantic love with. In the opposite, fire is preferred in expressing romantic love in western culture, cause fire is more extrovert, strong, and fierce, which is a more appropriate expression considering the national mentality of western countries. Whether it is for sure, more materials need to be researched, and that can no more than just an opinion, of cause people are allowed to harbor various ideas. The author of this paper tend to assume the hypothesis is true, and more work will be done to confirm that opinion. The above example about water metaphor, and water-related love metaphor is an instance of this paper. In spite of water, other natural elements will be discussed in the following text, in the hope of showing more about the national mentalities of different culture or countries.