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Active or Passive Voice: Does It Matter?

Description: This thesis reports on the use of active and passive voice in the workplace and classroom through analysis of surveys completed by 37 employees and 66 students. The surveys offered six categories of business writing with ten sets of two sentences each, written in active and passive voice. Participants selected one sentence from each set and gave a reason for each selection. The participants preferred active over passive 47 to 46 percent of opportunities, but they preferred mixed voice over both, 49 percent. The participants preferred active only for memos to supervisors; in the other five categories they preferred passive or mixed voice. Both males and females preferred mixed voice, and age appeared to influence the choices. They cited context as the most common reason for using passive.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Watson, Rose E. (Rose Elliott)
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition

Description: The dissertation argues that the development of the British abolition movement was based on the abolitionists' perception that their actions were kairotic; they attempted to shape their own kairos by taking temporal events and reinterpreting them to construct a kairotic process that led to a perceived fulfillment: abolition. Thus, the dissertation examines the rhetorical strategies used by white abolitionists to construct an abolitionist kairos that was designed to produce salvation for white Britons more than it was to help free blacks. The dissertation especially examines the three major texts produced by black persons living in England during the late eighteenth centuryIgnatius Sancho's Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), Ottobauh Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), and Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789)to illustrate how black rhetoric was appropriated by whites to fulfill their own kairotic desires. By examining the rhetorical strategies employed in both white and black rhetorics, the dissertation illustrates how the abolitionists thought the movement was shaped by, and how they were shaping the movement through, kairotic time. While the dissertation contends that the abolition movement was rhetorically designed to provide redemption, and thus salvation, it illustrates that the abolitionist's intent was not merely to save the slave, but to redeem blacks first in the eyes of white Christians by opening blacks to an understanding and acceptance of God. Perhaps more importantly, abolitionists would use black salvation to buy back their own souls and the soul of their nation in the eyes of God in order to regain their own salvation lost in the slave trade. But ironically, they had to appear to be saving others to save themselves. So white abolitionists used the black narratives to persuade their overwhelmingly white audience ...
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Date: December 1999
Creator: Evans, Dennis F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Agolmirth Conspiracy

Description: Written in the tradition of the classic spy novels of Ian Fleming and the detective novels of Raymond Chandler, The Agolmirth Conspiracy represents the return to the thriller of its traditional elements of romanticism, humanism, fast-moving action, and taut suspense, and a move away from its cynicism and dehumanization as currently practiced by authors such as John Le Carre' and Tom Clancy. Stanford Torrance, an ex-cop raised on "old-fashioned" notions of uncompromising good and naked evil and largely ignorant of computer systems and high-tech ordinance, finds himself lost in a "modern" world of shadowy operatives, hidden agendas, and numerous double-crosses. He is nevertheless able to triumph over that world when he puts his own honor, his own dignity, and his very life on the line, proving to himself and to his adversaries that such things can still make things easier to see amid today's swirling moral fog.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Elston, James C. (James Cary)
Partner: UNT Libraries

The American Eve: Gender, Tragedy, and the American Dream

Description: America has adopted as its own the Eden myth, which has provided the mythology of the American dream. This New Garden of America, consequently, has been a masculine garden because of its dependence on the myth of the Fall. Implied in the American dream is the idea of a garden without Eve, or at least without Eve's sin, traditionally associated with sexuality. Our canonical literature has reflected these attitudes of devaluing feminine power or making it a negative force: The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, and The Sound and the Fury. To recreate the Garden myth, Americans have had to reimagine Eve as the idealized virgin, earth mother and life-giver, or as Adam's loyal helpmeet, the silent figurehead. But Eve resists her new roles: Hester Prynne embellishes her scarlet letter and does not leave Boston; the feminine forces in Moby-Dick defeat the monomaniacal masculinity of Ahab; Miss Watson, the Widow Douglas, and Aunt Sally's threat of civilization chase Huck off to the territory despite the beckoning of the feminine river; Daisy retreats unscathed into her "white palace" after Gatsby's death; and Caddy tours Europe on the arm of a Nazi officer long after Quentin's suicide, Benjy's betrayal, and Jason's condemnation. Each of these male writers--Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner--deals with the American dream differently; however, in each case the dream fails because Eve will not go away, refusing to be the Other, the scapegoat, or the muse to man's dreams. These works all deal in some way with the notion of the masculine American dream of perfection in the Garden at the expense of a fully realized feminine presence. This failure of the American dream accounts for the decidedly tragic tone of these culturally significant American novels.
Date: May 1993
Creator: Long, Kim Martin
Partner: UNT Libraries

American Grotesque from Nineteenth Century to Modernism: the Latter's Acceptance of the Exceptional

Description: This dissertation explores a history of the grotesque and its meaning in art and literature along with those of its related term, the arabesque, since their co-existence, specifically in literature, is later treated by a well-known nineteenth-century American writer in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque- Theories or views of the grotesque (used in literature), both in Europe and America, belong to twelve theorists of different eras, ranging from the sixteenth century to the present period, especially Modernism (approximately from 1910 to 1945)--Rabelais, Hegel, Scott, Wright, Hugo, Symonds, Ruskin, Santayana, Kayser, Bakhtin, (William Van) O'Connor, and Spiegel. My study examines the grotesque in American literature, as treated by both nineteenth-century writers--Irving, Poe, Hawthorne, and, significantly, by modernist writers--Anderson, West, and Steinbeck in Northern (or non-Southern) literature; Faulkner, McCullers, and (Flannery) O'Connor in Southern literature. I survey several novels and short stories of these American writers for their grotesqueries in characterization and episodes. The grotesque, as treated by these earlier American writers is often despised, feared, or mistrusted by other characters, but is the opposite in modernist fiction.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Kisawadkorn, Kriengsak
Partner: UNT Libraries

American Sandwich: West Coast, East Coast, in Between

Description: The thesis begins with an introduction, followed by six short stories. The stories that follow span three or four regions of the American landscape and three or four decades of the twentieth century. What drives each story is the isolation of both narrator and main character (when these are not the same) from the world of the story. In each story, there is either a sense of wanting to belong or an urge to escape, or both. The paradox--also the writer's paradox--is that if one belongs, one has no need to escape; if one escapes, one can never belong.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Clark, Emily A. (Emily Alcorn)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison

Description: In this dissertation, I show how 20th century African-American women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison utilize animals-as-trope in order to illustrate the writers' humanity and literary vision. In the texts that I have selected, I have found that animals-as-trope functions in two important ways: the first function of animal as trope is a pragmatic one, which serves to express the humanity of African Americans; and the second function of animal tropes in African-American women's fiction is relational and expresses these writers' "ethic of caring" that stems from their folk and womanist world view. Found primarily in slave narratives and in domestic fiction of the 19th and early 20th centuries, pragmatic animal metaphors and/or similes provide direct analogies between the treatment of African-Americans and animals. Here, these writers often engage in rhetoric that challenges pro-slavery apologists, who attempted to disprove the humanity of African-Americans by portraying them as animals fit to be enslaved. Animals, therefore, become the metaphor of both the abolitionist and the slavery apologist for all that is not human. The second function of animals-as-trope in the fiction of African-American women writers goes beyond the pragmatic goal of proving African-Americans's common humanity, even though one could argue that this goal is still present in contemporary African-American fiction. Animals-as-trope also functions to express the African-American woman writer's understanding that 1) all oppressions stem from the same source; 2) that the division between nature/culture is a false onethat a universal connection exists between all living creatures; and 3) that an ethic of caring, or relational epistemology, can be extended to include non-human animals. Twentieth-century African-American writers such as Hurston, Walker, and Morrison participate in what anthropologists term, "neototemism," which is the contemporary view that humankind is part of nature, or a vision that Morrison would ...
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Date: August 1999
Creator: Erickson, Stacy M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Hell: the Rhetoric of Universality in Bessie Head

Description: This dissertation approaches the work of South African/Botswanan novelist Bessie Head, especially the novel A Question of Power, as positioned within the critical framework of the postcolonial paradigm, the genius of which accommodates both African and African American literature without recourse to racial essentialism. A central problematic of postcolonial literary criticism is the ideological stance postcolonial authors adopt with respect to the ideology of the metropolis, whether on the one hand the stances they adopt are collusive, or on the other oppositional. A key contested concept is that of universality, which has been widely regarded as a witting or unwitting tool of the metropolis, having the effect of denigrating the colonial subject. It is my thesis that Bessie Head, neither entirely collusive nor oppositional, advocates an Africanist universality that paradoxically eliminates the bias implicit in metropolitan universality.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Edwards, George, Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Apostasy (and Return) of Lenny Gorsuch

Description: This comic romantic novel engages the question of how the Christianity of the southern, fundamentalist world of the Texas bible belt, finding its primary cultural assumptions about human existence challenged by the more confusing elements of a modern sensibility, a sensibility over-laden with strange-attractors, mechanistic psychologies, relativistic physics and ethics, evolutionary premises, newly proclaimed rights and freedoms, a deterioration in cultural political naivete, and the advent of an increasingly incomprehensible set of technologies, can survive. The "central" character is a young, slightly deformed man raised by his ostensibly "Christian" grandparents who, through a rather odd set of legal circumstances and physical events, not only become wealthy, but somewhat powerful in their immediate community. He finds himself involved with a young woman, raised in an equally "Christian" household, but, as is true of any romantic plot, the relationship between the two is destined, by virtue of circumstance and the meddling of other characters, to struggle and mishap. In the end, the text, in its own fashion, asserts that the Christian impulse can survive the modern era by virtue of one of its central tenets: faith, in the Christian world, is very much the same as life itself, a process of waiting and expecting. Its greatest threat, rather than something intrinsic to the modern period, is perhaps that of the dogmatism and misunderstanding of the characters who most loudly proclaim it to others.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Guidici, Guy R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Appropriating Language on the Usenet

Description: The Usenet is a global computer conferencing system on which users can affix textual messages under 4500 different categories. It currently has approximately 4,165,000 readers, and these .readers have appropriated language by adapting it to the Usenet's culture and medium. This thesis conceptualizes the Usenet community's appropriation of language, provides insights into how media and media restrictions cause their users to appropriate language, and discusses how future media may further cause users to appropriate language. With the Usenet we have a chance to study a relatively new community bound by relatively new technology, and perhaps we can learn more about the appropriation process by studying the two.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Spinuzzi, Clay I. (Clay Ian)
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Arrangement of Ezra Pound's Personae (1926) : An Interpretive Application of Editorial and Critical Theory

Description: Pound foregrounded the importance of "shaping" poetic books through particular arrangements of individual poems by using his ideogrammic method as the crucial organizational principle for constructing Personae (1926). Critics have long understood Pound's use of the ideogrammic method in individual poems, but have so far ignored his application of it to the structuring of poetic books and sequences. Lea Baechler and A. Walton Litz, the editors of a 1990 edition of Personae (1926), however, have moved a crucial section of poems, and their rearrangement of the original text both disregards evidence of authorial intention and obscures Pound's innovative principles for arranging his shorter poems into meaningful sequences.
Date: December 1995
Creator: Salchak, Stephen P. (Stephen Patrick)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Asleep in the Arms of God

Description: A work of creative fiction in the form of a short novel, Asleep in the Arms of God is a limited-omniscient and omniscient narrative describing the experiences of a man named Wafer Roberts, born in Jack County, Texas, in 1900. The novel spans the years from 1900 to 1925, and moves from the Keechi Valley of North Texas, to Fort Worth and then France during World War One, and back again to the Keechi Valley. The dissertation opens with a preface, which examines the form of the novel, and regional and other aspects of this particular work, especially as they relate to the postmodern concern with fragmentation and conditional identity. Wafer confronts in the novel aspects of his own questionable history, which echo the larger concern with exploitative practices including racism, patriarchy, overplanting and overgrazing, and pollution, which contribute to and climax in the postmodern fragmentation. The novel attempts to make a critique of the exploitative rage of Western civilization.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Clay, Kevin M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Awen, Barddas, and the Age of Blake

Description: Studies of William Blake's poetry have historically paid little attention to the Welsh literary context of his time, especially the bardic lore (barddas), in spite of the fact that he considered himselfto be a bard and created an epic cosmos in which the bardic had exalted status. Of particular importance is the Welsh concept of the awen, which can be thought of as "the muse," but which must not be limited to the Greek understanding of the term For the Welsh, the awen had to do with the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit, and beyond that, with the poet's connection with his inspiration, or genius, whether Christian of otherwise. This study explores the idea of inspiration as it evolves from the Greek idea of the Muse, as it was perceived in the Middle Ages by Welsh writers, and as it came to be understood and utilized by writers in the Age of Blake.
Date: May 1997
Creator: Franklin, William Neal
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Beowulf": Myth as a Structural and Thematic Key

Description: Very little of the huge corpus of Beowulf criticism has been directed at discovering the function and meaning of myth in the poem. Scholars have noted many mythological elements, but there has never been a satisfactory explanation of the poet's use of this material. A close analysis of Beowulf reveals that myth does, in fact, inform its structure, plot, characters and even imagery. More significant than the poet's use of myth, however, is the way he interlaces the historical and Christian elements with the mythological story to reflect his understanding of the cyclic nature of human existence. The examination in Chapter II of the religious component in eighth-century Anglo-Saxon culture demonstrates that the traditional Germanic religion or mythology was still very much alive. Thus the Beowulf poet was certainly aware of pre-Christian beliefs. Furthermore, he seems to have perceived basic similarities between the old and new religions, and this understanding is reflected in the poem. Chapter III discusses the way in which the characterization of the monsters is enriched by their mythological connotations. Chapter IV demonstrates that the poet also imbued the hero Beowulf with mythological significance. The discussion in Chapter V of themes and type-scenes reveals the origins of these formulaic elements in Indo-European myth, particularly in the myth of the dying god. Chapter VI argues that both historical and mythological layers of meaning reflect traditional man's view of history as cyclic, a temporal period with a beginning and an end. At the juncture between end and beginning is conflict, which is necessary for regeneration. The interlacing of Christian, historical and mythic elements suggests the impossibility of extricating the individual and collective historical manifestations from the cosmic imperative of this cycle. The Beowulf poet perhaps saw in the ancient myths which permeated his cultural traditions the basis of meaning ...
Date: May 1990
Creator: Aitches, Marian A. (Marian Annette)
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Blurred Boundaries between Film and Fiction in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, and Other Selected Works

Description: This dissertation explores the porous boundaries between Salman Rushdie's fiction and the various manifestations of the filmic vision, especially in Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, and other selected Rushdie texts. My focus includes a chapter on Midnight's Children, in which I analyze the cinematic qualities of the novel's form, content, and structure. In this chapter I formulate a theory of the post-colonial novel which notes the hybridization of Rushdie's fiction, which process reflects a fragmentation and hybridization in Indian culture. I show how Rushdie's book is unique in its use of the novelization of film. I also argue that Rushdie is a narrative trickster. In my second chapter I analyze the controversial The Satanic Verses. My focus is the vast web of allusions to the film and television industries in the novel. I examine the way Rushdie tropes the "spiritual vision" in cinematic terms, thus shedding new light on the controversy involving the religious aspects of the novel which placed Rushdie on the most renowned hit-list of modern times. I also explore the phenomenon of the dream as a kind of interior cinematic experience. My last chapter explores several other instances in Rushdie's works that are influenced by a filmic vision, with specific examples from Haroun and the Sea of Stories, "The Firebird's Nest," and numerous other articles, interviews, and essays involving Rushdie. In my conclusion I discuss some of the emerging similarities between film and the novel, born out of the relatively recent technology of video cassette recorders and players, and I examine the democratizing effects of this relatively new way of seeing.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Quazi, Moumin Manzoor
Partner: UNT Libraries

Briefs: A Discussion of Genre and a Presentation of Short Fiction

Description: Eleven short fictions are introduced with a discussion of genre. Genre is looked at as being a matter of degree ranging from absolute prose on one end of the spectrum to a very specific form of poem with conventions of its own such as the Shakespearean Sonnet on the other end of the spectrum. The analysis is made in an appeal for the short-short story (or sudden fiction) as being a genre of its own. It is argued that regardless of what category a fiction may fall into (and some of the distinctions seem arbitrary), that what is most important is success at conveying a meaningful experience.
Date: May 1993
Creator: Kenney, Stephen Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries

(Broken) Promises

Description: The dissertation begins with an introductory chapter that examines the short story cycle as a specific genre, outlines tendencies found in minimalist fiction, and discusses proposed definitions of the short story genre. The introduction examines the problems that short story theorists encounter when they try to.define the short story genre in general. Part of the problem results from the lack of a definition of the short story in the Aristotelian sense of a definition. A looser, less traditional definition of literary genres helps solve some of the problem. Minimalist fiction and the short story cycle are discussed as particular forms of the short story. Sixteen short stories follow the introduction.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Champion, Laurie, 1959-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bureaucratic Writing in America: A Preliminary Study Based on Lanham's Revising Business Prose

Description: In this study, I examine two writing samples using a heuristic based on Richard A. Lanham's definition of bureaucratic writing in Revising Business Prose: noun-centered, abstract, passive-voiced, dense, and vague. I apply a heuristic to bureaucratic writing to see if Lanham's definition holds and if the writing aids or hinders the information flow necessary to democracy. After analyzing the samples for nominalizations, concrete/abstract terms, active/passive verbs, clear/unclear agents, textual density, and vague text/writers' accountability, I conclude that most of Lanham's definition holds; vague writing hinders the democratic process by not being accountable; and bureaucratic writing is expensive. Writers may humanize bureaucracies by becoming accountable. A complete study requires more samples from a wider source.
Date: May 1993
Creator: Su, Donna
Partner: UNT Libraries

Characteristics of Intensive English Program Directors

Description: The purpose of this study is to discover if there exists a difference between the perceived roles and functions of intensive English program (IEP) directors and what they actually are. The study is a partial replication of Matthies (1983). A total of 46 subjects participated in a nation-wide survey which asked the respondents to rate the importance of functions and skills in good job performance and in self-assessment of ability. The findings indicated that IEP directors rate the activities associated with administration higher in importance than teaching skills, yet rate themselves better at teaching overall. Additionally, the respondents have more and higher degrees in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics than previously seen by Matthies (1983).
Date: August 1994
Creator: Atkinson, Tamara D. (Tamara Dawn)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Charles Dickens and Idiolects of Alienation

Description: A part of Charles Dickens's genius with character is his deftness at creating an appropriate idiolect for each character. Through their discourse, characters reveal not only themselves, but also Dickens's comment on social features that shape their communication style. Three specific idiolects are discussed in this study. First, Dickens demonstrates the pressures that an occupation exerts on Alfred Jingle from Pickwick Papers. Second, Mr. Gradgrind from Hard Times is robbed of his ability to communicate as Dickens highlights the errors of Utilitarianism. Finally, four characters from three novels demonstrate together the principle that social institutions can silence their defenseless constituents. Linguistic evaluation of speech habits illuminates Dickens's message that social structures can injure individuals. In addition, this study reveals the consistent and intuitive narrative art of Dickens.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Coats, Jerry B. (Jerry Brian)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Chaucer and the Rhetorical Limits of Exemplary Literature

Description: Though much has been made of Chaucer's saintly characters, relatively little has been made of Chaucer's approach to hagiography. While strictly speaking Chaucer produced only one true saint's life (the Second Nun's Tale), he was repeatedly intrigued and challenged by exemplary literature. The few studies of Chaucer's use of hagiography have tended to claim either his complete orthodoxy as hagiographer, or his outright parody of the genre. My study mediates the orthodoxy/parody split by viewing Chaucer as a serious, but self-conscious, hagiographer, one who experimented with the possibilities of exemplary narrative and explored the rhetorical tensions intrinsic to the genre, namely the tensions between transcendence and imminence, reverence and identification, and epideictic deliberative discourse.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Youmans, Karen DeMent
Partner: UNT Libraries