According to Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), the Source-Path-Goal (SPG) schema constitutes a central concept in cognition. Apart from literally structuring “movement”, SPG also shapes our understanding of “purposive activity”, including questing and story-telling. A problem in CMT, however, is that the existence of image schemas is almost exclusively postulated on the basis of verbal expressions. To examine the claim that people recruit image schemas such as SPG to make sense of life, it is essential to examine non-verbal modalities. Animation has highly medium-specific opportunities to exploit SPG by its emphasis on “manner of movement” and “balance”. Three animation films (Father and Daughter, Quest, and O) exemplifying MOVEMENT, QUEST, and STORY are analyzed in terms of SPG to chart how they exploit this schema. We end the paper by positioning our findings with respect to recent discussions about image schemas in Hampe (2005a) and by suggesting avenues for further research.
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