Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies and University Honors
Lawrence P. Wheeler
Lesbians in mass media, Lesbians on television, Television programs -- Social aspects -- United States, Death in mass media, Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) -- Criticism and interpretation
Following an increase in queer characters over the last few decades, representation of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, etc.) community on television has become a particularly rich field of inquiry for interdisciplinary scholars. One area of interest, the death of contemporary lesbian characters, remains fairly underdeveloped. This thesis attempts to identify structural patterns in the deaths of lesbian characters by subjecting their narrative arcs to structural analysis, specifically a method of linguistic analysis developed by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. I identify structural patterns in the deaths of 6 lesbian characters which took place between the years 2013-2017, as they relate to narrative context, and extract meaning from those patterns. The stability of patterns’ features across the sample will be questioned, specifically how they relate to “the closet” originally discussed in Sedgwick (1990) and Joyrich’s (2009) work.
Watt, Taylor D., "Tragic Ways of Killing a Lesbian" (2019). University Honors Theses. Paper 787.