Bruce Creed

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James A. Pearse, Hoyt Bowen, Lee Mitchell


Originally Department of Speech & Theatre

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The object of this study is to examine the diction of “Scenes of Passion and Despair” by Joyce Carol Oates in an attempt to discover performative attitudes for the interpreter. The discussion centers on the theme of illusion and reality as it manifests itself in the story. Because this theme superimposes itself on diction, it becomes necessary to examine words in detail, searching for the manner in which words are used to create a certain degree of reality for each character of the story. The discovery of these realities reassures the interpreter that his is a faithful rendering of one possible interpretation of the story. A great deal of attention centers on the respective realities of the characters and the narrator in order to facilitate the interpreter in his criticism; one method in which this is accomplished is through an examination of the different realities revealed through diction. These realities pertain either to the narrator or the character of the woman. The final chapter demonstrates the manner in which the preceding study of diction becomes realized and defined in physical performance, thus showing how interpretation acts as one method of literary criticism.


Communication | Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | English Language and Literature | Speech and Rhetorical Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies