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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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Detached and Circling

Detached and Circling

Metaphors for the Emotions of Women Scorned

(p.111) Chapter 6 Detached and Circling
Banned Emotions

Laura Otis

Oxford University Press

Psychological studies of human attachment describe relationships metaphorically, but the attachment metaphor excludes some aspects of emotional bonds. It suggests that detachment is a simple, mechanical process, and it rules out the intermeshing that many people experience in loving relationships. Some male poets, fiction writers, and filmmakers who depict women resisting rejection have characterized them with metaphors of circling, constriction, and violent cutting. Virgil’s Aeneid, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, Rudyard Kipling’s “The Phantom Rickshaw,” Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty for Me, and Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction portray rejected women with images of darkness and destruction. Novelist Siri Hustvedt and director Andrea Arnold use different metaphors of shattering, dancing, riding piggyback, and flying free. Metaphoric descriptions of rejected people matter because they can shame people into suppressing emotions that they need to consider cognitively.

Keywords:   attachment, anxious attachment, The Aeneid, Great Expectations, The Phantom Rickshaw, Play Misty for Me, Fatal Attraction, Fish Tank, The Summer without Men

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