ENG Theses

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    Narratives and the shaping of culture – societal adzes
    (Wichita State University, 2023-12) Reid, Thane; Boynton, T.J.
    This work attempts to define literary fiction in the context of sociological and anthropological principles in order to craft an understanding of how narratives mold and remold individuals and the societies that consist of these individuals in a generational and cyclical process. By drawing on sociological definitions of social technologies as defined by early 20th and 21st century sociological scholars and synthesis of theoretical ideas from anthropological and literary canons, narrative was defined as a form of social technology. Narrative as a social technology is a theoretical outlook which argues narrative contains amorphous symbolic representations of their originating society’s values, which then produce and reproduce meaning and value within that society in a process that shapes societal structure and ideology over time. The application of narrative as a social technology to narratives is carried out through the comparative analysis of two texts in relation to their originating societies. The first analysis, of Homer’s Iliad, investigates the narrative as a social technology through comparative analysis of the epic genre and the prevalence of the text’s impact in contemporary historical records. Additionally, the text is compared to Walcott’s Omeros in order to investigate the modern use of the epic in its relationship to societal change. The second analysis investigates narrative as an explicitly designed example of social technology in Upton Sinclair’s the Jungle, focusing on the text’s role in the creation of the United States Federal Food and Drug Administration and the curtailing of the Chicago meatpacking plants, noting the connection to the narrative presented and the institutional change that stemmed from the works publishing.
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    Micronationalist themes in early modern English literature
    (Wichita State University, 2023-12) Ferguson, Bennie Lee; Connor, Francis X.
    This thesis identifies and analyzes micronationalist themes in Early Modern English The purpose of this thesis is to identify modern micronationalist themes in Early Modern English literature, primarily as evidenced by the works of William Shakespeare and John Donne. This work illustrates that, while modern concepts of micronationalism were absent in the Early Modern era, its underlying principles were familiar to these authors and expressed in their poems and plays. Analyses of Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Donne’s “A Valediction of Weeping” and “The Sunne Rising” demonstrate that both authors were familiar with and employed micronationalist themes in their writing. To illustrate this point, similarities between modern micronations and fictional depictions of such in the works of Shakespeare and Donne are emphasized. Utilizing examples of actual micronations throughout history, this research presents evidence that micronationalist themes are evident in both authors’ works, largely as a result of the emerging English nationalism of this era. It maintains that micronationalist themes in Early Modern English literature profoundly influenced the establishment of modern micronations. This is especially evident in regard to questions involving the supranational legitimacy of the Church, patriarchal doctrine, and egalitarianism, as well as the colonization of the Americas during this era.
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    The nature and development of the English mystery novel: From William Godwin through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    (Wichita State University, 1958-07) Harlow, Benjamin Charles; Taylor, Ross McLaury, 1909-1977
    This study will be concerned with the investigation of that literature which deals with mystery. It would be impossible in a Master's thesis to investigate the entire area of mystery literature, so the writer has restricted himself to the area and to the type which seems to him most representative: the English mystery novel.
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    Protest in the work of Richard Wright prior to 1956
    (Wichita State University, 1957-07) Harris, Cassie M.; Taylor, Ross McLaury
    It is the premise of this thesis to discuss and to evaluate the protests as revealed in the works of Richard Wright and to classify and attempt to interpret these protests on the basis of their soundness, their possible origin in the light of the life of the author, and the increase or the decrease of their violence throughout his writing. Incidental to the discussion of the validity of the protests of Richard Wright, this thesis proposes to determine the effect and the value of his literary contributions in the field of American Literature.
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    Evaluating the evolution of the English language as seen in TikTok slang
    (Wichita State University, 2023-05) Mackey, Abigail Elizabeth; Menon, Mythili
    This study will evaluate the perception of slang terminology seen on the massively popular social media site TikTok and whether said terms are appropriate in certain contexts. This is alongside some terms that have existed for years, and that show signs of entering the English lexicon as formal, or ‘standard’ English, despite their former standing as immature slang. First, 100 TikTok videos were viewed using a new account created for study purposes, as well as another 100 videos on an existing account. A selection of slang terminology seen on these TikToks was then provided to 26 participants and they were asked to rate the terms using two Likert scales. In the first task, participants were asked to determine whether terms were understood as a slang term, a standard/usual term, or both, as well as whether they were appropriate to use in certain contexts. In the second task, participants then evaluated a selection of sentences and determined whether the sentences are grammatical or not. Every term presented to the participants were noted as being understood, and semantic analysis revealed that sentences intended to be grammatical or ungrammatical were noted as such. Further analysis revealed that older terms like [wanna] and [gonna] could be going through significant morphological change, while less popular terms might be used infrequently due to instances of usage considered appropriate being hyper-specific. This implies slow but tangible shift in English grammar.
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