Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Rei Magosaki

Second Advisor

Dr. Joanna Levin

Third Advisor

Dr. Justine Van Meter


The spoken and written word has always been a platform for voices to be heard, but being heard is not always enough. This thesis focuses on the use of hybrid forms in recent publications that address this issue, placing images alongside the written word, letting readers also personally visualize and interpret a perspective different from their own. Specifically, it will look into three examples of hybrid literary works: the placement of photographs beside epistolary writing in Karen Tei Yamashita‘s Letters to Memory (2017), the blend of visual art and lyric prose poetryfound in Citizen: An American Lyric(2014) by Claudia Rankine, and the instructional sign language placed beside the poems in Deaf Republic(2019) by Ilya Kaminsky. I argue that these contemporary writers use the hybrid format to move beyond being ―heard,‖ in their attempt to ―teach‖ its audience about underrepresented realities in a way which reminds us of how illustrations help children understand and imagine stories before their transition to imageless texts.In looking at these three works, new possibilities for understanding the marginalized come to being, shedding light onto the importance and immediacy of the subject matter. While these three works each emerge from distinctively different backgrounds,I place them in conversation with one another to demonstrate different ways in which their words unfold the spectacle beside the existence of the spectator.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.