Peirce’s diagrammatic reasoning and the cinema: image, diagram, and narrative in The Shape of Water

Lee, Yunhee and Cobley, Paul ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Peirce’s diagrammatic reasoning and the cinema: image, diagram, and narrative in The Shape of Water. Semiotica, 2020 (236-37) . pp. 29-46. ISSN 0037-1998 [Article] (doi:10.1515/sem-2019-0025)

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This article aims to examine the relationship between image and narrative by means of Peirce’s first trichotomy of qualisign-sinsign-legisign or, for the purposes of the current argument, image-diagram-metaphor. It is argued that narrative, as an extended metaphor, can be examined in three modes: in the image; schematically, in the imagination; and allegorically or in a thought experiment, through hypothetic interpretation.

The article outlines two kinds of diagrammatic reasoning emphasized by Peirce: corollarial deduction in which the image is ‘literally seen’ and the reasoning steps are manifest in its conclusion; and theorematic deduction where the conclusion in a diagram is subject to a hypothesis which transforms the image into something new. Demonstrating the breadth of diagrammatic reasoning with reference to the 2018 film, The Shape of Water, the article seeks to explore how allegory and diagram are mutually cooperative, based on three ontological modes: the expressive, the cognitive, and the symbolic. Its primary focus, then, is not so much on the story events of the narrative, as the way that they are visualized and characterized as the fairy story unfolds. It is suggested that the interpreting activity involved in allegory and diagram ties interpretation to metacognition, ultimately (re)recognizing the image in The Shape of Water in an attempt to ascertain the meaning of love.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Linguistics and Language, Literature and Literary Theory, Language and Linguistics
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 27675
Notes on copyright: This is an published version of an article published by De Gruyter in Semiotica. Reproduced in this repository in accordance with the publisher's Repository Policy:
The final publication is available at
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Depositing User: Paul Cobley
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 14:36
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:06

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