May 25, 2024

Sahar Jamshideyan

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
Education: M.Sc in علوم انسانی
Faculty: Literature and Human Sciences


Metaphor of Freedom: A Cognitive Black Feminist Study of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Type Presentation
Cognitive Linguistics, Metaphor, Slavery, Freedom, Black feminism
Researchers Sahar Jamshideyan


The past few years have seen an explosion in interest in cognitive approaches to literature. Metaphor has been extremely important as a concept for understanding the workings of the mind throughout the cognitive disciplines and as a means of meaning-making. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their book, Metaphors We Live By (1980), define conceptual metaphors as our means of understanding abstract concepts in terms of more concrete ones. Many authors write figuratively by deploying literary devices like metaphor and irony to convey their meanings. The current study will analyze that metaphor is used to overcome the inadequacy of language in the face of indescribable phenomena such as slavery, racism and especially double oppression on black women in Colson whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (2016) and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). By using these titles as metaphors for freedom, these authors provide a critique of the white domination to change the consciousness of the oppressed women and to manifest what they are in contrast to what they should be. Patricia Collins tries to convey this through her book, Black Feminist Thought (2000), which will be used in this work to show that all these oppressions exist even today. The result indicates that Whitehead has given life to the same slavery story of Uncle Tom's Cabin which faded into obscurity over centuries to emotionally engage a global audience at the present time when racial hatred seems to be a thing of the past.