The Primate Family Tree By Ian Redmond

1757 Words8 Pages
Use of Metaphor in The Primate Family Tree
Although some may think of metaphor as ornamental and inapplicable for use in subjects other than English literature, metaphors are necessary for communication in all disciplines. The use of metaphor is crucial in the field of education because one cannot understand completely new ideas without making a connection to previously known information (Oshlag and Petrie). Textbooks readily employ metaphor to convey new information to students. Pages 28-29 of The Primate Family Tree by Ian Redmond illustrates the evolution of primates through a diagram of a tree and describes how the theory of evolution has changed since the nineteenth century. The Primate Family Tree willfully utilizes metaphors regarding abstract complex systems and the Great Chain of Being to explain scientific concepts to an audience that is uneducated in complex zoological and evolutionary processes. Two main metaphor systems categorize many metaphorical expressions: the Great Chain of Being system and the Event Structure system (Kovecses 151). The Great Chain system is based on a vertical scale of complexity, or “being,” and accounts for how one conceptually analyzes metaphors that compare two “things” or nouns (Kovecses 151). The Great Chain metaphor is prevalent in English literature to describe both comparisons and differences between nouns. One can better interpret a complex “thing,” such as a human, by making comparisons between the human and another noun that
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