The image of the Batman denotes one shifting cultural signifier that has been able to adapt, mold, and conform to what Americans need him to be at a given historical moment. This thesis develops a language that floats around the Superhero Style by advancing a rhetorical framework offered by the recent theoretical reconceptualization of style. Chapters 1 and 2 offer one such pragmatic approach to reading the substance in surface by detailing stylistic theory, method, and practice from antiquity onward. Chapter 3 provides a historiography of the Batman from his birth in the 1930s to his evolution into a darker postmillennial Super Antihero. Chapter 4 engages a stylistic criticism to deconstruct images in Christopher Nolan's superhero reboot, The Dark Knight. As I argue, Nolan's neo-noir Bat-mythos offers normative messages masked in subversion that eases the contemporary traumas of a post-9/11 world, instructs citizens how to be American, and, ultimately, orders and regulates certain aspects of our gendered, raced, and classed identities. Chapter 5 concludes by putting forth style as a potent way to go about navigating our contemporary world of images, signs, and aesthetic engrossment.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 51/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Communication, Aesthetics, Film studies|
|Keywords:||Batman, Nolan, Christopher|
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