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  • Cited by 12
  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: July 2009

4 - Embodiment in Metaphorical Imagination

Summary

How would you describe the way you think about your life? When asked this question, many people immediately embrace some convenient metaphor to characterize their self-conception. Consider two narratives from individuals in their late 40s who had re-entered college to finally obtain their degrees. The first, Sara, talked of her life as being a journey. She said that completing school was critical “because it's important to where I want to end up.” It represents “this little highway to, um, a new life, I guess. Each one of the steps I take down this road was well thought out. You take your journey and end up back where you started and you see it in a new way, and you see it for the first time, and I really believe that's what I did” (Horton, 2002, p. 283).

A different person, Porter, described his life as a kind of play within a play. He said, “I think that when you do that, when you create a play within a play, and you say, well, if my life was already, which it seems to be, a staged production, up and running, ready to go, there were no surprises … it was a set production. … It was me. I was the character in the play that had become the protagonist. I am in my own show right now, absolutely. I get to be the star in my show” (Horton, 2002, p. 284).

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