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Denk-Mittel Metaphors: Metaphors as Thought Devices in Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove


Henry James’ late works have created an ongoing case for investigation. From his stream-of-consciousness style we see his mastery of language while experiencing the difficulty of comprehending his writing. Specifically, the role of metaphors within his late novel The Wings of the Dove are striking because of their independent behavior, and upon analysis of this work, I have found new discoveries in the function of metaphor, most prominently as a device that is more than a substitution for something else, which mystifies rather than clarifies, and which reflects the inner workings of the mind. In fact, metaphor is integral to the way James represents thought streams - it may even be used as an deceptive thought in the mind of a character, instead of a just a modifier, it may be used as an aid to the reader in difficult passages of character’s thoughts, and lastly it may even work as a moving scene, rather than a picture. Metaphors in this novel in the end may even represent the everyday processes of the mind and a character’s growth and maturity, which I find to be novel functions of the metaphor and something which is yet to be explored further in James’ works.

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