Romanian Journal of English Studies (2020-12-01)

Traveling Ever Toward Freedom: A Metaphorical Feminist Study of Colson Whitehead’s the Underground Railroad

  • Motlagh Afsaneh Askar

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 17, no. 1
pp. 38 – 52


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There is a growing interest in cognitive approaches to literature in recent years; undoubtedly conceptual metaphor has become one of the favourite topics for analysis. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Metaphors We Live By (1980), assert that metaphor is not just a matter of words; rather it is inherently conceptual and conceptual metaphors help us comprehend abstract concepts in terms of more concrete ones. This article proposes that metaphor is used to overcome the inadequacy of language in the face of indescribable phenomena, such as slavery, racism and multiple oppressions of black women throughout history in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (2016). Patricia Collins tries to convey through her work, Black Feminist Thought (2000), which will be used here, that all these oppressions exist even today. The result of this study indicates that Whitehead has picked up and given life to the old slavery story to emotionally engage a global audience at the present time, when racial hatred seems to be a thing of the past.