Mapping of Cognitive Emotional Universals and Particulars in the Coming of Age Novel


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date17 Sep 2019


My thesis centers on the analysis of cognitive emotionality, specifically in the form of universals and particulars, in the coming of age novel. This analysis is done by way of mapping the two distinct cognitive emotional constituents and their various relationships. My aim is to understand the underlying emotional values that influence, shift, and propel the narrative dynamics. The practical implementation, outlook, and goal of my mapping process is based off of the multiplicity framework used commonly to understand and treat Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Various components of the framework can be used outside of DID treatment: such as the focus on the two relationships between constituents: dissociation and association, the analysis of constituents as semi-autonomous entities; and finally the practical implementation which proceeds from the mapping of the constituents based on their own merits first, and then expanding the mapping process unto the web of relationships between them. The coming of age novel is especially applicable to my mapping process because of the inherent emotional themes of the process the stories portray. The narratives I have chosen to apply the mapping process to are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Each of these narratives is constructed differently, and each has something new to present in terms of the cognitive emotional composition. The different protagonists, and their vastly different stories, do not only present the coming of age process, but also the underlying emotional values that lead people in the real world, and in fiction. In the coming of age novel emotions themselves are an important factor of the process, but the focus of analyses is more often than not solely on the proceedings and the characters' actions. My mapping process zooms in on the cognitive emotional constituents that shape not only those actions, but the tone and imagery, as well as the narrative progression. By focusing specifically on the cognitive emotional construction of the coming of age novel I seek to determine how emotional cognition is an inherent value that influences every aspect of narrative dynamics, as well as how these lend weight and plausibility to the narratives themselves. Many facets of the coming of age novel are constructed based on their emotional values, such as actions caused by emotions, reactions that follow the pattern, or even complete shifts in terms of progression, tone, as well as imagery. However, the coming of age process is a real-world aspect of every person's life, and different stories about the process can showcase different ways in which emotions propel the process and determine the outcome. Instead of the dominant focus on action my goal is to understand what predates, and what determines how narrative are shaped based on the emotional values they present.