A Metaphor Analysis of Love Allusions in A Dream of Red Mansions

  • Lin Qiuming Faculty of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, P.R. China
  • Li Danyang Institute of Education, University College London, London, UK
Keywords: A Dream of Red Mansions, metaphor, Conceptual Integration Theory (CIT), the pledge between plant and stone, Jin’s marriage


The paper explores two love allusions, ‘the pledge between plant and stone’ and ‘Jin’s marriage’ in the Chinese literary classics A Dream of Red Mansions written by Cao Xueqin and provides new explanations to the theme of the novel. Nearly 20 metaphorical expressions in the novel are selected through Critical Metaphor Analysis with 6 specifically representational examples analyzed in the paper by building integration networks based on Conceptual Integration Theory (CIT). The findings are as follow: 1) the counterculture of ‘plant and stone’ is embodied in the mythological stories at the beginning of the novel. 2) a ‘nested integrational network’, originally proposed by the researchers, links the mythological narrative space and the fictional human world space. 3) the comparison between integration networks of the two love allusions shows anti-feudalism of the author Cao Xueqin. This paper offers an interpretation of the novel from the aspect of cognitive linguistics, which, in turn, could promote the development of CIT within this field.


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