John McGahern gained sudden popularity when his second novel, The Dark, was banned in Ireland shortly after its publication in 1965. This ban was no surprise, considering McGahern's explicit and outrageous depiction of the Irish Puritan establishment, in which the Catholic Church played a prominent and influential front-row part and its power at the time was not only apparent but also overwhelming in what has been acknowledged as a “theocracy.” This article takes a look at the most relevant religion related scenes, and summarizes McGahern's outrageous statement into one general metaphor: RELIGION IS A BEAST OF PREY, with a number of religion- and death-related subsidiary metaphors. These metaphors are formulated in the light of Steen's Three-dimensional Taxonomy of Metaphors (2011), due to the strong social issues underlying them. The language employed by the author, which makes these metaphors emerge in the reader's mind, is analysed by drawing upon Cognitive Grammar (Langacker 2) and applying the notions of construal, specificity, prominence, and ambience.

You do not currently have access to this content.