Eryn Johnson

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Ryan Weber

Committee Member

Gaines Hubbell

Committee Member

Chad Thomas


Kenneth Burke--1897-1993., Kurt Vonnegut., Mathematical recreations.


Although Kenneth Burke originally theorized language as symbolic action and Dramatism with literary analysis in mind, he remains unthought of by literary scholars. With the aim of reclaiming Dramatism for literary analysis, I grapple with Fredric Jameson’s criticisms of Burke in order to show how Dramatism maintains potential for productive literary analysis, particularly in regard to ideology. In doing so, I apply Burke’s Dramatistic method to a series of Kurt Vonnegut novels in order to investigate the similarities between Burke and Vonnegut as well as to demonstrate a fruitful literary analysis by way of Burke’s method.Though their writings differ generically, Burke and Vonnegut notably assert strikingly similar positions on the nature of language as motive through logology. This experiment with Burke and Vonnegut reveals the nature of their similarities as a bent toward pragmatism while also demonstrating the revelatory capacity of this rhetorical approach to literary analysis.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.