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Banned EmotionsHow Metaphors Can Shape What People Feel$
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Laura Otis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190698904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190698904.001.0001

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The Sound and Smell of Suffering

The Sound and Smell of Suffering

(p.57) Chapter 4 The Sound and Smell of Suffering
Banned Emotions

Laura Otis

Oxford University Press

Despite cultural pressures to “suck up” one’s pain, some rebellious literary characters make their suffering known. In E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View, the aging spinster Charlotte Bartlett makes her unhappiness audible through well-timed sighs. Forster represents his characters’ emotions through metaphors of frozen or flowing water, darkness and sunlight, and rushing electric trams. In Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, history tutor Doris Kilman resents her unjust dismissal from school due to her Germanic background. Woolf describes Doris’s emotions through metaphors of awkward movements, sensations of bursting, and bad smells. Doris and Charlotte make sure that the more prosperous, conventional characters in these novels can see, hear, and smell their unhappiness. By making their misery known, they remind readers of the injustice in societies where the main characters are enjoying privileges that others do not.

Keywords:   E. M. Forster, A Room with a View, Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, metaphor, simulation, imagery, homosexuality

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