A huge cloud was mounting up the sky, and there were distant breathings of thunder. The thunder drew nearer, a wind began to blow, and the first drops of rain fell. Miss Spence and Mr. Hutton sat on in the growing darkness.
Miss Spence spoke louder and louder as the rain came down more and more heavily. Periodically the thunder cut across her utterances.
A flash revealed her, aimed and intent, leaning towards him. Her eyes were two profound and menacing gun-barrels. The darkness reengulfed her.
Anotherflash. She was still aimed, dangerously. The thunder crashed and rumbled, died away, and only the sound of the rain was left. The thunder was his laughter, magnified, externalized (metaphor). Flash and crash, there it was again, right on top of them.
Mr. Hutton perceives the claps of thunder as Ms Spence’s mockery at him exaggerated to such an extent. Miss Spence considers this thunderstorm an embodiment of passion. Such different perceptions of them both built on the counterpoint create a comic effect.
Two spaces – storm one and the physical one of Ms Spence - are joined into one metaphor - one space. One frame is substituted by another. The image of the barrel shot and peal of thunder become one and mean the danger overhanging Mr. Hutton.
Mr. Hutton’s ironical attitude at the beginning is replaced by fear and terror as the result of the realization of serious intentions of Ms Spence.
All this is even emphasized by the threatening picture of thunder and lightning:
The lightning was less frequent now, and there were long intervals of darkness. But at each flash he saw her still aiming towards him, still yearning forward with a terrifying intensity. Darkness, the rain, and then flash! Her face was there, close at hand. A pale mask, greenish white; the large eyes, the narrow barrel of the mouth, the heavy eyebrows. Agrippina, or wasn’t it rather George Robey?
The comparison of Ms. Spence with Agrippina and George Robey as the result of bringing out the analogies highlights such characteristics of Ms. Spence as craving for power and determination to get whatever she wants at any cost.
The comparison of Ms. Spence with the British star of music hall once more emphasizes her authority, power, and ability to mesmerize.
The author gives bright descriptions of the characters applying all possible means.
Mr. Hutton has a flattering opinion of himself, he admires his appearance, which is seen in the following example where the author uses analogy with Shakespeare. In the same way as Shakespeare is not affected by time, his charms and are still appealing to women:
Others abide our question, thou art free…. Footsteps in the sea…Majesty… Shakespeare, thou shouldst be living at this hour.
The play on words and metaphors (the Lady of Christ’s, Christ of Ladies) intensify the effect of Mr. Hutton’s irresistibility according to his own opinion:
No, that was Milton, wasn’t it? Milton, the Lady of Christ’s. There was no lady about him. He was what the women would call a manly man. That was why they liked him….. Lady of Christ’s? No, no. He was the Christ of Ladies.
It is very important to take into consideration the role of a metaphor in the meaning formation.
According to M. Minsky [cit. by Zalevskaya 2003: 58] when the process of metaphorisation takes place, the association between two notions in spoken or mental act occurs due to the substitution of one frame, script, scenario (the circle of notions) by other meanings, as the metaphor points out to something which has no name.
V.A. Maslova [Maslova 2001: 91] stresses that a metaphor is such a way of perceiving the world when the previously accumulated knowledge is for cognizing new things. A new concept is being formed from some yet to be developed notion by using the original meaning of the word and the numerous associations connected with it.
When perceiving bright individual author's metaphor, there appear a number of various associations which are often vague.
The semantics of the words which create the metaphoric sense in the consciousness of the reader evokes purely subjective, additional associations, connected with the peculiarity of the person who perceives, his way of thinking and intelligence.
The linguistic mechanism of ametaphor (when the meaning of one word is explained through another, more comprehensible) penetrates all person’s verbal activity, and in most cases, defines the linguistic picture of the world.
Having considered the definition of a metaphor let us examine some cases of how the author implements it in the text and its emotive system.
Huxley applies the analogy between people’s appearances and animals. Mr. Hutton’s thoughts of Dorris as a sea-mouse and high-flown words and feelings of Dorris towards Mr. Hutton are contrasted:
Doris, you look like the pictures of Louse de Kerouaille.
Doris, Doris, Doris. The scientific appellation of the sea-mouse he was thinking, as he kissed the throat of a victim awaiting the sacrificial knife. The sea-mouse was a sausage with iridescent fur: very peculiar. Or was Doris the sea-cucumber, which turns itself inside out in moments of alarm.
He was a land animal.
He had a protective affection for this little creature.
The opposition: sea animals – land animals is used by Huxley to underline the fact that Mr. Hutton is of higher opinion about himself than of Doris.
In this example the work of associative mechanism of thinking is shown. It is not accidental that Doris is a sea animal since in zoology this is a name for a type of shellfish and in Greek mythology Doris is a sea nymph, whose name means the bounty of sea.
In the following way the author describes the situation when Mr. Hutton is unable to struggle with desire he was overcome with at the sight of the maid- servant:
Today the curiosity defined and focused itself into a desire. An idyll of Theocritus. Here was the woman; he was not precisely like a goatherd on the volcanic hills.
Twelve steps led from the garden to the terrace. Mr. Hutton counted them. Down, down, down, down, down… He saw a vision of himself descending from one circle of the inferno to the next-from darkness full of wind and hail to an abyss of stinking mud.
In this example we come across the traditional symbols of sin. In religion the number 12 has magic characteristics - 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 Christmas days, 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit, East orthodox tradition celebrates 12 religious holidays. In this story twelve steps separate the hero from committing a sin.
Huxley one more time uses foreshadowing and metaphorization as a frame when the main hero sees himself, coming down from one circle of the hell to the other.
Metaphors and similes should be given special attention as by means of metaphors and comparisons the consciousness categorizes the reality.
The parallel drawn with Benjamin Franklin who invented the lightning rod creates an ironical effect.
Mr. Hutton realizes that he inflicted danger upon himself and found himself under the claps of thunder and lighting:
There she was, a cloud black-bosomed and charged with thunder, and he, like some absurd little Benjamin Franklin, had sent up a kite into the heart of the menace. Now he was complaining that his toy had drawn the lightning.
Huxley uses the association of the case against Mr. Hutton rapidly mounting with the growth of some tropical plant to convey Mr. Hutton’s awareness of his hopeless position and coming danger. This plant surrounded him, clung to him, and he got lost in a tangled forest:
It was now, quite suddenly, that he saw it: there was a case against him. Fascinated he watched it growing, growing, like some monstrous tropical plant. It was enveloping him, surrounding him; he was lost in a tangled forest.
Finally the main here realizes that he got trapped, but he can’t do anything about it and blames himself for not being thoughtful of his wife and having love affairs with other women. He considers his impending imprisonment as a necessary punishment:
He dashed at last more horribly into the pit he had prepared for himself.
He had become nothing but a tired and suffering carcase. This metaphor is the embodiment of exhausted body and soul.
To sum everything up, we can say that the dominant emotion in the story is irony (as in Huxley’s most works) and the emotive system of the story comprises a number of components such as brilliant metaphors, analogies with precedent names, frame structures revealing the dominant emotion, thus being the examples of categorizing the world by the consciousness and showing the mechanisms of new meanings’ formation.