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

4 - Embodiment in Metaphorical Imagination


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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