Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 12(1), pp. 1 - 10
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2024.120101
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Towards a "Secondspace": Conceptual Metaphor and Its Political Implications in Zone One

Huiying Liang *
School of Foreign Languages, Soochow University, China


This study examines Colson Whitehead's novel Zone One to address the following questions: What metaphors concerning cities and zombies does the author employ? What roles do these metaphors assume in shaping the imaginative world? What relationships between urban environments and their inhabitants do these metaphors reflect in the context of the 21st century? How do these metaphors impact readers? Drawing from Critical-spatial Theory and Critical Metaphor Analysis, this paper examines how metaphors enhance the thematic depth of the novel and contribute to the author's political critique through close reading and qualitative assessment. The study's findings show that a literary text has its First-, Second-, and Third-space, wherein the author's strategic use of conceptual metaphors constitutes the Secondspace. Zone One extensively employs conceptual metaphors, each illuminating distinct facets of the city, particularly its mechanization, institutionalization, rationalization, and bureaucratization. These traits serve as lenses through which readers discern the underlying societal forces contributing to the outbreak of the zombie uprising. A binary opposition is established between two metaphorical states: the rigidity of the urban environment and the fluidity of zombies. The latter's metaphorical meaning is concerned with a biochemical weapon attack against racial hierarchy, anti-black violence and the barriers of systemic racism. These metaphors prompt consideration of the confrontation between the living and the dead as a political conflict aroused by racial malady although the novel seems unconcerned with racial issues. Ultimately, these metaphors empower readers to conceptualize, engage in critical reasoning, and grasp abstract concepts, thereby enhancing the literary themes of the post-apocalyptic novel.

Conceptual Metaphor, Critical Spatiality, Urban Metaphors, Zombie, Zone One

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Huiying Liang , "Towards a "Secondspace": Conceptual Metaphor and Its Political Implications in Zone One," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 1 - 10, 2024. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2024.120101.

(b). APA Format:
Huiying Liang (2024). Towards a "Secondspace": Conceptual Metaphor and Its Political Implications in Zone One. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 12(1), 1 - 10. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2024.120101.