The DIVIDED SELF metaphor and conceptualizations of the internal conflict in suicide notes

Keywords: DIVIDED SELF metaphor, Subject, Self, conceptual metaphor, metonymy, metaphtonymy, suicide notes


This paper presents DIVIDED SELF metaphor analysis conducted drawing from the discourse of suicidal notes. The suicide notes represent a distinct genre because of its typical rhetorical structure and communicative purpose. In particular, the internal conflict experienced by the authors of suicidal notes makes this material suitable for an analysis of the metaphorical conceptualization of one’s own DIVIDED SELF. The research aims at modeling the conceptualization of one’s own conflicting SELF by the authors of the suicide notes and proposing approach to the metaphorical conceptualizations of the DIVIDED SELF as metaphtonymy, as well as describing their potential for representing the individual’s internal conflict. First, the cognitive framing of the inner SELF of the authors, divided into the instances of the Subject and the Self, was investigated. Second, in order to analyze metaphtonymic connections between the individual’s inner conceptualizations, the agentivity of the inner SELF conceptualizations was compared. Third, a metaphtonymic configuration of SELF conceptualizations was modeled and the potential of metaphorical framing of extreme psychological states through the metaphthonymic representation of the SELF described. The material of the study consisted of a corpus with a total size of 164,483 lexical units (the CEASE corpus combined with a self-assembled corpus of suicide notes). As demonstrated by the analysis, the aspect of the Self mainly acts as a fragmentation of the author in the DIVIDED SELF metaphor. That is, the study allowed to model metaphorical conceptualizations metaphtonymically and structure the stages of the formation of metaphtonymy through the visual illustrations.


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How to Cite
Ananieva, N. (2023). The DIVIDED SELF metaphor and conceptualizations of the internal conflict in suicide notes. Cognition, Communication, Discourse, (26), 9-23.