A Facial Scar Injury

Recently I negotiated a personal injury settlement where my minor four year old client sustained facial scars from a dog attack. The following passage on Metonymy helped illustrate how important our face is and the significance of  facial scars. (A metonymy is using one entity in referring to another that is related. For example:  “We need a good glove.” For we need a good fielder.

The metonymy functions actively in our culture. The tradition of portraits, in both painting and photography, is based on it. If you ask me to show you a picture of my son and I show you a picture of his face, you will be satisfied. You will consider yourself to have seen a picture of him. But if I show you a picture of his body without his face, you will consider it strange and will not be satisfied. You might even ask, “But what does he look like?” Thus the metonymy THE FACE FOR THE PERSON is not merely a matter of language. In our culture  we look at a person’s face-rather then his posture or his movements-to get our basic information about what the person is like. We function in terms of metonymy when we perceive the person in terms of his face and act on those perceptions.

Lakoff & Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, (Chicago Press 1980).


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  12. […] The most significant disfigurement cases involve the face. Our face is what we show the world. Our face is how we are first perceived. A facial disfigurement case is a substantial injury case. Second to […]

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