THE USE OF CONCEPTUAL METAPHOR
IN GOLA GONG’S NOVEL Bila Waktu Bicara
This study is aimed to describe conceptual metaphor in Gola Gong’s novel “Bila Waktu Bicara”
in the perspective of George Lakoff’s theories of metaphor. This research is a (qualitative)
bibliographical research. The object of the study is the use of metaphor in Gola Gong’s novel
“Bila Waktu Bicara”. There are 59 metaphorical expressions that had chosen as the object of the
study. Having analyzed the data, the researcher can draw a conclusion that there seven most
outstanding conceptual mapping on that novel: TIME IS AN INDIVIDUAL, THE WORLD IS THE HELL OR
PARADISE, PEOPLE IS A STREAM OF WATER ,SEEING IS TOUCHING, EYE BALL IS A CONTAINER, BODY PART
IS A LANDSCAPE, AMBULANCE IS AN INDIVIDUAL. Among the seven conceptual mapping the conceptual
pattern of TIME IS AN INDIVIDUAL is the most frequent use and it shows that there has been an
increase of creativity in the creation of socio-religious metaphor of Indonesian young novelist
such as Gola Gong.
Keywords: Source domain, target domain, conceptual metaphor and George Lakoff.
1. Background of this study
One of interesting problems in language study is the use of metaphor in all walks of life. One
of its mysteries is the public confusion in encountering metaphorical expression that says
something that is different to what it really means. Hawkes says “Language which doesn’t mean
what it says” (1980:1). This fact creates the impression that the user of metaphor looks like a
liar or deceiver. When Juliet said to Romeo “The lights that shines from your eyes” she did not
mean to say that from Romeo’s eyeballs radiating or shining on the chamber they stayed. When a
poet says,” A poem is a bird”, he did not mean to state that the poem can flap its wings and
tail. Those two instances is only part of many examples that creates the impression of metaphor
as the expression full of “absurdity” and ‘falsity” (Max Black in Ortony, 1993:21).
One of the interesting studies of metaphor is the use of metaphor in literary works of art.
The outstanding feature of metaphor in this case lies on it uniqueness and specification that
very different to other genre of writing like business, political discourses, science and
technology. Such uniqueness refers to the poetic function of literary wok to convey the message
or ideas of man of letters towards his or her readers (Culler, 1975:55). Culler says, “By
showing what properties of language were being exploited in particular texts and how they were
extended or organized” (1975:55).
Besides, using poetic words in his or her literary works of art, the men of letters have
effectively used their literary woks as effective weapons to enlighten and improve his society
and humanity in general. Above all, literary works prefer to show rather than to tell its
readers about the moral consciousness. It helps them indirectly finding good lessons of life
regardless whatever literary works they are. Back to the objective of this writing, in this
process language plays a crucial role, for every messages prepared by the men of letters were
played beautifully by the use of the language of metaphor.
Considering above explanation this paper analyzes the use of Lakoffian Conceptual metaphor in
Gola Gong’s novel Bila Waktu Bicara. To define what had been analyzed in this research, it had
been formulated the problem of this paper: What’s the uniqueness of metaphor in Gola Gong’s
novel Bila Waktu Bicara?
2. The Study
2.1 Data Collection
2.1.1 Objects. All the objects in this study were 59 metaphorical expressions taken from Gola
Gong’s novel Bila Waktu Bicara. Those metaphorical expressions were obtained by frequent
reading and analysis. This research is a qualitative descriptive research. This kind of
research is conducted in the aim of uncover qualitative information and describe various items
which will be examined carefully. For example a condition, a symptom or a phenomenon that is
more valuable than the statement which covers the analysis and interpretation of data (Sutopo,
Selection of this descriptive study is adjusted to the problems discussed and the research
purposes. Descriptive qualitative research used the strategy of phenomenological thinking which
is so flexible and it focus its analysis inductively to understand the real facts which is
defined in the research limitation (Sutopo, 1996:47). The facts that will be described are the
unique use of language contained in Gola Gong’s novel Bila Waktu Bicara. This is intended to
gain an understanding of exactly what is implied in this religious novel.
2.1.2 Research Instruments.
Research instruments for the qualitative researcher can not be characterized as objective but
internal one. The instrument in qualitative research is not an operational definition or the
others, but the researcher alone. Therefore, in this study of metaphor the researcher is the
instrument which has the role to find adequate and profound data collection and analysis. By
using his experience and knowledge it is hoped that he can get the accurate the high quality of
The procedures and steps that had been used in this research were (1) the provision of data,
(2) classification and data analysis, and (3) presentation of data analysis. The stage of
provision of data related to problems of classification and the phase of data analysis related
to the collection of data. The last stage is the stage to report the results of the analysis
which had been conducted in this research. In order to get the best results the data which is
the object of the research should be selected carefully and systematically.
2.2 Data analyses and results
“To analyze” means to sort through the elements which formed a lingual unit or disentangle
their components, or implies the determination of the identity of a lingual unit. It is based
on clues from the frame of mindsets (or theories) or based on the examination of particular
aspects of which we had thoroughly observed (Edi Subroto, 1992:55).
The process of data analysis in this study has the interactive characteristic, i.e. using the
data analysis which implements several steps like the reduction of data, the provision of data
and the drawing conclusion or verification (Sutopo, 1996:87).
2.2.1. The Classification of Data
Before analyzing, the available collected data are previously classified. Having collected the
data the researcher used the existing techniques: the bibliography or library techniques,
studies and takes notes. The classification of data is conducted with the perspective of the
most outstanding items to be analyzed. This classification includes the unique use of language
from words, word formation, syntax, style of language and metaphor. After the classification of
all data, each aspect will be scrutinized thoroughly or carefully observed.
2.2.2. Data Reduction
Data reduction is the process of the selection of data, the simplification and focus and
abstraction of raw data within in order to draw conclusion. The classified data should be
selected to choose among the abundant data for obtaining the best available sample of data.
Furthermore, the data were reviewed to obtain the most outstanding characteristic aspect and
also the related problems underlying the creation of literary works in the form of novel.
In the process of data collection the researcher acts as the key instrument. Indirectly he
already knew and understood specifically the characteristic of data and other surrounding
aspects that are considered useful in drawing conclusions. Thus, these data should be performed
as the proof data displays, in terms of other data which can be reduced. Data reduction was
made to catch the outstanding meaning and function and the main key terms of which will be
analyzed (Edi Subroto, 1997:60, 1999:36).
2.2. 3. Data presentation
The data presentation is the organization of the finding information that will be concluded.
The organization of such information of this research represents the important intellectual
process in qualitative research. If it is considered urgent, the organization of this
information can be presented in a form of matrix, the arrangement of columns in a chart or
table. This research was conducted based on the framework of linguistic analysis of the use of
metaphor in literary works.
2.2. 4. Drawing the Conclusions
Drawing conclusion or verification is an essential step in the research process. Conclusion is
based on organizing the information obtained in the analysis of data. After that process the
researcher tries to make an intellectual interpretation of the conclusions obtained. If the
temporary conclusion is considered less stable or valid, the researcher can repeat to collect
data specifically re-digging of information to strengthen the conclusions that will be made.
The basic theory of this paper covers four aspects as follows: (1) The definition of metaphor
(2) Conceptual metaphor (3) The synopsis of the novel BILA WAKTU BICARA and (4) The Biography
of Gola Gong. Those four important aspects have a close relation to the topic discussed in this
3.1. What is Metaphor?
In literary use, a metaphor (from the Greek: metapherin rhetorical trope) is defined as an
indirect comparison between two or more seemingly unrelated subjects that typically uses “is a”
to join the first subjects for example: ” Man is a wolf “. This is an elliptical form compared
to Simile sentence Man is like a wolf. A metaphor is commonly confused with a simile, which
compares two subjects using “like” or “as”. An example of a simile: “He was as sly as a fox.”
In the simplest case, a metaphor takes the form: “The first subject is a second subject.” Edi
Subroto (1986:45) said that a metaphorical expression can be categorized as metaphor if it can
give a new enjoyment in reading language expression, kicking out monotony and enliven inanimate
object, and actualizing something that which actually crippled or paralyzed.
In the development of theories of metaphor there are several domestic and foreign linguists who
had tried to describe their complex conception about metaphor. They are: Rachmad Djoko Pradopo
(1987), Edi Subroto(1991), Herman Waluyo(1991),Aminuddin (1995),Stephen Ullmann (1972), Andrew
Orthony (1993),and Wellek (1993). These conceptions will be elaborated one by one:
Pradopo (1987:66) explains that categorically metaphor consists of two terms that is main term
or tenor (principal term) and the second term or vehicle (secondary term). The main term or
tenor told about the compared entities whereas the second term or vehicle told about the
comparison or the things compared. Then it was said that metaphor sees things by the medium of
other entities. This metaphor explains something with the same result which actually has
Edi Subroto (1995:38) explains that metaphor is created particularly based on the similarity of
two referents. The first referent is called tenor and the second one is called vehicle. The
similarity of both referents is the basic builder of metaphor creation.
According to Edi Subroto one of important factor in the affectivity of metaphor is the distance
between tenor and vehicle. If the distance of both of them is very close in their similarity
level, the metaphor is less expressive, less effective. On the contrary, if the similarity
level of both elements is not so real, the metaphor has expressive power. The metaphor like
“black wolf” to depict “night shadow” like what has Arthur Rimbaud said in his poem is the
example of effective and expressive metaphor (Edi Subroto, 1995:39).
According to Herman Waluyo (1991:84), metaphor is an insight or approach towards object through
direct or indirect comparison. Aminuddin (1995:304), in his Stilistika explained that metaphor
One of the form of figurative language which created and re-created through comparison and the
transfer of semantic features via direct or indirect comparison. The Indonesian metaphor of
“Aku ini binatang jalang”( I am the untamed animal) for example, is a form of metaphor which
used direct comparison but in the metaphor of “Jam mengerdip” something is compared to the
blinking as indirect nature. Viewed to its function, the use of metaphor is functioned to
enrich the nature of imagery description and the picturing of meaning of an elaboration.
Ullmann said that the subjects of metaphor by telling the things that we
compared to. In his Semantic an Introduction to the science of meaning explained about both
things by giving term of tenor and vehicle, whereas the common feature that they have has
formed the ground of metaphor. This had been stated in these following sentences:
The basic structure of metaphor is very simple. There are two terms present: the thing we are
talking about and that to which we are comparing it. In Richard’s terminology, the former is
the tenor, the later the vehicle, whereas the feature or features they have in common from the
ground of the metaphor (Ullman, 1972:213).
It means that the basic structure of metaphor is very simple. There are two things that we are
talking about the things we talk and the things we compared to. The first term of Richard from
the early start is tenor (direction/objectives) and the latest is vehicle. This remains us to
the idiosyncrasies of daily lexicon which form the ground of metaphor.
In the view of Andrew Ortony (1993:2), in his book entitled Metaphor and Thought:
It seems preferable, however, to attempt to relate two alternative approaches to metaphor –
metaphor as an essential characteristic of the creativity of language; and metaphor as deviant
and parasitic upon normal usage – to a more fundamental and pervasive difference of opinion
about the relationship between language and the world.
It means that, however, it is better to relate two alternatives of approach in metaphor –
metaphor as the main character from language creativity; and metaphor as a deviation and
parasitic from the normal language toward deep fundamental difference from the opinion of the
relationship between language and the world.
Furthermore Rene Wellek (1993:235) explained that metaphor compared two world and conveying
theme through one idiom to other idiom as the works of Shakespeare (raging sea, the wild storm
in the meadow, the gloomy lake).
In general, it can be concluded that what had been said by the above linguistic experts had
enrich our knowledge about the theories of metaphor started from the tenor and vehicle
explained by I.A Richard (1936). Even though sometimes using different terminology outstanding
linguists like Pradopo, Edi Subroto, Waluyo, Aminnuddin,Wellek and Ullmann had just given an
emphasis to the theory of Richard whereas Andrew Ortony had added by his viewpoints which
insisted on the inconsistencies between “the two terms” in metaphor called as tension.
3.2. Conceptual Metaphor
It is true that all of us speak in metaphors whether we realize it or not. In Metaphors We Live
By by George Lakoff, a linguist, and Mark Johnson, a philosopher, suggest that metaphors not
only make our thoughts more vivid and interesting but that they actually structure our
perceptions and understanding. Thinking of marriage as a “contract agreement,” for example,
leads to one set of expectations, while thinking of it as ‘team play”, “a negotiated
settlement,” ‘Russian roulette,” “an indissoluble merger,” or “a religious sacrament” will
carry different sets of expectations. When a government thinks of its enemies as ‘turkeys” or
“clowns” it does not take them as serious threats, but if they said that they are “pawns” in
the hands of the communists, they will be taken seriously indeed. In Metaphors We Live By has
led many readers to a new recognition of how profoundly metaphors not only shape our view of
life in the present but set up the expectations that determine what life will be for us in the
Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination and the rhetorical flourish- a
matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language. Moreover, metaphor is typically viewed
as characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action. For this
reason, most people think they can get along perfectly without metaphor. We have found, on the
contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and
action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is
fundamentally metaphorical in nature.
The concepts that govern our thought are not just matter of the intellect. They also govern
our everyday functioning, down to the most common details. Our concepts structure what we
perceive, how we get around in the world and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual
system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in
suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we thinks what we
experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.
The conceptual system used by mankind in wherever society strongly influenced our style and
style of thinking and doing is metaphorical. The non-metaphorical thinking is only possible if
we discuss merely physical realities. The greater the level of abstraction made by people, the
greater of the metaphorical layers needed to state the result of human thinking.
Many people ignored these for several reasons. One of them is the reason that few form of
metaphor is considered “dead” and has unknown origin. The other reason is that we do not know
what happen on our conceptual system in our thinking. (1993:224). The clearer depiction of the
view that most of our conceptual system is metaphorical can be seen in the instances of
conceptual metaphor by Lakoff and Turner (1989:3-4) that is given then name of the metaphor
LIFE IS A JOURNEY. In this metaphor the mental domain) “Journey” as the source domain is
compared to mental domain of “Life” as the target domain. The conceptual mapping between the
LIFE IS A JOURNEY.
– The person leading a life is a traveller.
– His purposes are destinations.
– The means fro achieving purposes are routes.
– Difficulties in life are impediments to travel
– Counsellors are guides.
– Progress is the distance travelled.
– Counsellors are guides.
– Progress is the distance travelled
– Things you gauge your progress by are the landmarks.
– Material resources and talents are provisions.
– The conception of the metaphor LIFE IS A JOURNEY can be applied into other examples
like what have been said by (in Ortony 1993:206) like the metaphor of LOVE IS A JOURNEY
– Our relationship has hit a dead-end street.
– We can’t turn back now.
– We’re at the crossroads.
– The relationship isn’t going anywhere.
– We’re spinning our wheels.
– Our relationship is off the track.
It should be understood that the above metaphorical conception is not the only form, but there
are hundreds and thousands form and mental domain mapping which compared on mental domain to
other mental domain like what had been elaborate by Lakoff in the metaphor of LIFE IS A
JOURNEY, CHANGE IS MOTION, CAUSES ARE FORCES, SEEING IS KNOWING, THINKING AS BODY MOVEMENT,
TIME PASSING IS A MOVEMENT OVER A LANDSCAPE etc.
From this, the researcher can defined that according to George Lakoff metaphor is the most
important conceptual construction in the development of human thinking history. The conceptual
system which used daily in each and every society will influence our ways of thinking and doing
which metaphorical in nature.
3.3. The Synopsis of the Novel
It is an interesting and inspiring story about an arrogant man in Yogyakarta, Indonesia named
Menggung Broto. He is the richest and powerful man who thinks that he can do everything he
wants by using his power and wealth. One of his biggest dreams is having a son who will inherit
his business dynasty and imperium.
One day his got pregnant and after nine months and ten days his wife gave birth in one
hospital. At that time there was Doctor Bagaskara, his nephew who helped that process baby
birth. Unintentionally, there were also the poor Marwoto’s wife who will gave birth at the same
hospital. Unlucky moment occurred when Menggung Broto’s baby was dead and Marwoto’s baby was
alive. Bagaskara is the only person who knew this sad moment. Then secretly bagaskara took
Marwoto’s baby and gave it to Menggung Broto. Wickedly he said to Marwoto that his baby was
dead and Menggung Broto’s son was alive.
Then, for years the young Doctor Bagaskara went around several countries like Bangkok,
Bangladesh and India to escape reality and forget his problem but he could not do it. He could
not remove the shadow of Marwoto’s sad face and finally he went home to tell the truth about
3.4. Biography of Gola Gong
Gola Gong is well-known as free-lance journalist, novelist, screen play writer and poet. Many
of his poems had been published in Suara Muhammadiyah, Mitra Desa PR, Republika, Media
Indonesia, Harian Banten and also Adil. His poems are collected in the antology of Jejak Tiga
(1988), Ode Kampung (1995), Antologi Puisi Indonesia (KSI Angkasa, 1997), and Kumpulan 7
Penyair Serang Bebegig (LiST, 1998). His one scene comedy plays script entitled “Kampung
Maling”, was performed on stage by Forum Kesenian Banten in Banten Art Building. Now he is
working in RCTI Jakarta as scriptwriter.
After the performance of his new cinema electronic of “Pada-Mu Aku Bersimpuh”, it will be
performed “Petualangan Si Roy” by the production house of PT. Indika Entertainment. This
“Cine-tron” is an adaptation of his adventure novel of Balada Si Roy, Mata Elang, and Aku