The restricted possible worlds of depression: a stylistic analysis of Janice Galloway’s The Trick is To Keep Breathing using a possible worlds framework


This article uses a theoretical framework of possible worlds to explore the ways in which Janice Galloway’s novel about grief and depression, The Trick is to Keep Breathing, may elicit emotional responses in readers. I give an overview of some of the emotional responses expressed by readers by using online review data, before employing stylistic analysis to demonstrate how emotional effects may be created through the linguistic construction of degrees of possibility. Drawing on Possible Worlds Theory, I demonstrate how readers’ emotional responses may be linked both to the presentation of possibility and to the restriction of possibility. The combination of the empirical methodology utilised here alongside stylistic analysis allows me to harness the capacity of possible worlds methodologies to cast light on constructions of textual possibility and actuality and to facilitate understanding of some of the mechanisms eliciting readers' emotions.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > English Languages and Applied Linguistics
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publication ISSN: 1461-7293
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://journal ... 639470221106882 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-06-09
Published Online Date: 2022-06-09
Accepted Date: 2022-05-20
Authors: Mansworth, Megan



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record