Master of Arts (MA)
Michael P. Graves
Primary Subject Area
Folklore; Literature, American
Comic Performance, Kenneth Burke, Mark Twain, Richard Bauman, Travel Literature, Verbal Art
This thesis explores Mark Twain's three works of foreign travel literature, The Innocents Abroad, A Tramp Abroad, and Following the Equator using the rhetorical tool of comic performance. Comic performance as a tool of rhetorical analysis is defined using Kenneth Burke's conception of the comic frame and Richard Bauman's framework for performance. This tool is then used to explore Twain's descriptions of foreign place, culture, and people in representative passages from each work in order to show how Twain uses his descriptive passages as a means to elicit social change.