Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Program/Concentration

Literary Studies

Committee Director

Alison Reed

Committee Member

Kevin Moberly

Committee Member

Delores Phillips

Abstract

The Last of Us and The Walking Dead video games deploy father-daughter relationship pairings between their main characters in ways that disrupt the hegemonic patriarchal understandings of those very roles, though in different ways. The Last of Us and The Walking Dead utilize paternal mentorship in ways that subvert patriarchal ideology’s established patterns for gendered behavior through role-switching and alternative models of masculine care respectively. Where video games too often still cater to an audience that is heterosexual, white, and male, these games feature narratives that challenge the heteropatriarchal messaging common to this medium. The Last of Us does this by disrupting the gender binary of man as strong/protector and woman as weak/protected while The Walking Dead presents players with methods of masculine and/or fatherly behavior that can best be understood as alternative. Additionally, in a medium where Black men are either egregiously misrepresented or distinctly absent, The Walking Dead puts caring, sensitive Black fatherhood front and center.

DOI

10.25777/bk62-af78

ISBN

9798515226473

ORCID

0000-0002-3598-2468

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