College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in English (MA)


Marybeth Baggett


Buffered Self, Buffy, Disenchantment, Enchantment, Morality, Willow


English Language and Literature | Film and Media Studies | Television


Charles Taylor, in A Secular Age, claims that over time, modernity has given way to a new secular age, and with this new era comes cultural shifts in our perception of ourselves and the world. Given Taylor’s notion of a world haunted by transcendence, we can notice this haunting throughout aspects of modernity, especially in literature and entertainment where we can see authors and creators deal with issues of identity and morality from a purely modern perspective. Specifically, Taylor’s concepts connect with Buffy the Vampire Slayer because the characters in Buffy align with Taylor’s understanding of the buffered self, which affects each character uniquely. The buffered self can lead to exclusive humanism, does not follow a universal standard of morality, creates quasi-significance and meaning, and is haunted by the transcendence that it rejects. Each character emphasizes one of these aspects of the buffered self, and through the different characters, we can see and understand the effects the buffered self have on identity and moral understanding.