This article analyzes the creation of the metaphor 'crab man' in the works of Josué de Castro to designate the kind of men that lived in Recife swamps. The text where the metaphor was first used is analyzed in the attempt to detect the existence of other figures of speech, such as synecdoche and metonymy. Three of Castro's texts have been analyzed: Documentário do Nordeste, where the author describes the 'crab cycle'; Fatores de localização da cidade do Recife and Homens e caranguejos an autobiographical novel. The present article also tries to understand two recent updated forms of the original metaphor - gabiru men and crabs-with-brains.
Josué de Castro; crab cycle; geography; semiotics; metaphor; Recife