Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication & Theatre Arts


Lifespan and Digital Communication

Committee Director

Thomas J. Socha

Committee Member

E. James Baesler

Committee Member

Frances Hassencahl


This thesis demonstrates the unique correlation between myth and the propagation of narrative across generational boundaries. It argues that myth occurs in the intersection of belief, semiotics, and context, and further enables a way of re-encoding a narrative with a dual contextuality. This dual context preserves a narrative’s literal context while endowing it with a new or modified myth context and affords the audience a selection of choices for how to receive a narrative experienced as myth. To demonstrate this correlation a Myth Context Reception Model is designed for the purpose of identifying ascendent, obscure or emergent myths evident in an audience’s reception of narrative, as a result the paradoxical human beliefs and behaviors the audience imposes upon narratives appropriated as myth. Three over-arching narratives, classical myth, Santa Claus, and Batman are then evaluated as exemplars, using the procedures defined by the model, to demonstrate that myth can influence the propagation of a narrative across many generations and in ways we might not expect. And to show that myth is a powerful a rhetoric that is stealthily obscure, remarkably ubiquitous, and resilient. Even in the modern day.


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