Taking Centre Stage: The Metaphorical Representation of Post Concussion Syndrome in Impact: Women Writing after Concussion

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Over the past few decades, it has slowly become clear that concussions are not as innocent as people initially assumed. When symptoms of a concussion do not resolve in the months or years after sustaining the injury, the injury is called Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Women suffer from PCS more often and they take longer to recover than men. Therefore, authors E. D. Morin and Jane Cawthorne, who both have PCS, collected the stories of 21 female writers on their experience with PCS in their book Impact: Women Writing after Concussion. In this paper, I analyse the use of metaphors to describe PCS in Impact: Women Writing after Concussion. Following Anita Wohlmann’s argument that metaphor analysis alone does not consider the “temporal unfolding and narrative embeddedness of metaphors”, I combined metaphor analysis and narrative analysis to create a deeper understanding of the meaning of the illness narratives (38). In the first chapter, I discuss how two authors reuse and adjust the commonly used shipwreck metaphor to represent PCS. Because of the heterogeneous nature of PCS symptoms, the metaphors can differ significantly between authors. Therefore, in the second chapter I will compare the metaphors of different authors in the book to analyse the various ways in which they describe their illness experience. By doing this, I will argue for the importance of a great range of illness narratives on PCS.
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