First Advisor

Lawrence P. Wheeler

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies and University Honors




Lesbianism on television, Death in mass media, Lesbians in mass media, Television programs -- Social aspects, Structural anthropology




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.


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