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Visual Metaphor and Embodiment in Graphic Illness Narratives$
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Elisabeth El Refaie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190678173

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190678173.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021

Trapped in Spacetime

Trapped in Spacetime

Metaphor in Graphic Illness Narratives about Depression

(p.154) 5 Trapped in Spacetime
Visual Metaphor and Embodiment in Graphic Illness Narratives

Elisabeth El Refaie

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies the notion of dynamic embodiment to graphic illness narratives about depression, a disease that typically involves a range of both mental/cognitive and physical symptoms, including low mood, feelings of worthlessness, and altered perceptions of time. These symptoms lead to an inability to engage actively in the world and a tendency to spend many hours in a prostrate position. Correspondingly, in comics depressed characters are frequently drawn lying down and at the bottom of panels and pages, which reflects the close links between feelings of hopelessness and the effects of gravity on the body (SAD IS DOWN). Many metaphors of depression in these works also convey a sense of what shall be termed “temporal entrapment.” This is due to the unique process of translating time into space in the comics medium, which foregrounds temporal aspects of the depression experience when artists are communicating through the graphic pathography genre.

Keywords:   time, desynchronization, depression, metaphor, explicit temporality, fractured self, implicit temporality, lived time, mental illness

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