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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rhetorical style and the superhero mythos: Toward a theory of contemporary style for the twenty-first century
by Castillo, Ryan, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2012, 220; 1520856
Abstract (Summary)

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.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smith, Craig
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
Publication Number: 1520856
ISBN: 978-1-267-70253-1
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