Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Morgan Read-Davidson

Second Advisor

Nora Rivera

Third Advisor

Joanna Levin


While fictional novels are often seen as a way to escape reality, their relation to reality and the ways in which they distort or reinforce our understandings of reality can provide significant insights into our cultural values and beliefs. Using posthumanist theory, I examine how understandings of selfhood and its relations to time and reality are complicated within three works of fiction and how those complications represent and articulate a societal shift in meaning and knowledge that is supported by posthumanist ideologies. The three works, No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle, and The Maddaddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, portray differing but interconnected interpretations of the posthuman condition, a condition brought on by the inadequacies of the Humanist notions that pervade our societal structures. The complexities of contemporary society coupled with Humanism’s ideological shortcomings then intersect with our lived realities and become the foundations of the posthuman condition. In comprehensively examining the constructions of identity and relationality, I support the need for a posthumanist understanding of the world we exist in today in order to make sense of and act within our current reality. I show that fiction is one avenue in which authors are attempting to create new meaning that is relevant and necessary to understand and cope with lived reality. Because fiction is seen as apart from reality, it allows for a safe and separate space to consider what otherwise can feel like monumental and overwhelming contradictions to our current understandings of ourselves, our reality, and our temporality, contradictions that are nonetheless just as prevalent in our material realities as they are presented in these fictional texts.

Creative Commons License

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



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