The Mind Styles and Self-concepts of Characters in Prose Fiction.

Fanlo Pinies, Maria (2005) The Mind Styles and Self-concepts of Characters in Prose Fiction. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

[thumbnail of 11003683.pdf]
PDF (11003683.pdf)
11003683.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.

Download (11MB)


The objective of this thesis is to offer an examination of the processes through which readers construct a mental representation of literary characters, regarding particularly characters' selves and cognitive activity. Various theories of pragmatics and theories of social cognition are used in my analysis of narrative texts, to investigate simultaneously the readers' cognitive processes during the reading act, and the characters' mental activity in relation to their self-concepts. My study of how authors represent the workings of characters' minds throws light on issues of characterisation and mind style, given that most of the characters under examination have some type of mental condition, which is revealed through their usage of language. The language of characters is analysed at two levels: as narrator-characters in their narration of the novel, and as characters maintaining conversations with other characters. The analysis of social interaction between characters by means of pragmatic theories and socio-cognitive theories proves to be a new revealing method to examine mind style. The first part of the thesis offers a general cognitive stylistic analysis of the minds and mental set-ups of three characters with various mental disorders. The second part of the thesis considers how authors construct and readers interpret various aspects of characters' mental selves. More particularly, I investigate characters' self-concepts, i.e. the conception characters have of themselves, possible selves, i.e. their hypothetical self-images, and self-presentation styles, i.e. the way in which they present their self- concepts. Throughout this thesis, the notion of a character's self makes reference to the reader's mental representation of the character's self, which is ultimately composed of a mental representation of the character's self-concept, the further inferences readers may draw about that self-concept, and an opinion and evaluation of the character in question. In conclusion, this thesis shows how a socio-cognitive stylistic analysis of prose fiction throws light on how readers arrive at global mental representations of characters and on how characters' selves and cognitive activity are projected in the language of narratives.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2005.
?? miaapqliterature.language arts. ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
02 May 2019 16:35
Last Modified:
22 May 2024 01:10