Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Breaking Bad" as a Modern Western: Revising Frontier Myths of Masculinity, Savagery, and Empire
by Clark, J.J., M.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 2014, 93; 1563555
Abstract (Summary)

This paper offers an analysis of the AMC television series Breaking Bad by placing it directly into the tradition of frontier narratives and the Western film. It looks to understand the aspects of the Western genre that the series revises as well as understand Breaking Bad as both a revisionist Western that redefines certain tropes common to the family-centered Western, as well as a Meta-Western that calls attention to the impact of the frontier myth on modern characters like Walter White. It finds that to make a "contemporary Western," as creator Vince Gilligan termed it, the show revises the traditional Western narrative by denying a regenerative quality to violence and demanding a multicultural, complicated, and ongoing understanding of the American frontier. The paper concludes by analyzing how the show's cultural allegories are a reaction to, and a critique of, a modern crisis of masculinity and the American empire.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Joseph, Philip
Commitee: Hagelin, Sarah, Herring, Rodney
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 53/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American literature, Mass communications, Film studies
Keywords: Breaking Bad, Frontier, Myths, Savagery, Western films
Publication Number: 1563555
ISBN: 978-1-321-13208-3
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