Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award


Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project


Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

David Hargreaves

Honors Program Director

Gavin Keulks




In the long tradition of literary studies, metaphor has continually resurfaced as the trademark of poets and rhetoricians, an indicator of sophisticated and complex language. In contrast to the traditional wisdom of metaphor, contemporary linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson suggest that metaphor is more than just a figure of speech or a rhetorical tool. According to Lakoff and Johnson, humans have a conceptual system that is largely – and fundamentally – structured by metaphor. Lakoff and Johnson refer to these metaphors as conceptual metaphors, and they are a fundamental part of common, everyday language. This thesis will endeavor to explore the conceptual metaphors expressed in children’s literature using Lakoff and Johnson’s theoretical framework. I will begin with a detailed discussion of what conceptual metaphors are, how to identify them, and the important points of distinction between Lakoff and Johnson’s theory and the tradition of literary metaphor. I will also review the established findings that facilitate metaphor comprehension in children and offer justification for my chosen medium. I will conclude with an analysis of my selected literature and discussion of the results.

Included in

Linguistics Commons