Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Randall Capps, James Pearse, Joseph Survant

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study develops an approach to narrator reliability in the creative autobiography for the solo interpreter. The relationships between narrator reliability and firstperson point of view are given, and the need for an understanding of reliability to develop a performance stance is also stated. The defining characteristics of the creative autobiography are also included.

The analytical approach to narrator reliability is three-fold. The reliability of the narrator is examined in terms of mental locus, spatial locus, and temporal locus. The mental locus of the narrator is determined through his relationships with himself, the characters, the action, and the reader. The narrator's spatial locus is examined according to his use of general and specific locations and the importance placed on given locations in the text. Temporal locus is studied in terms of time order, the relationship between the experiencing and the narrating self, and the relationship between time-past and time-present. Illustrations for the three-fold approach are provided by examples from two creative autobiographies: Stop-time by Frank Conroy and A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley. In chapter three, the locus triad is applied to A Fan's Notes, providing an in-depth analysis of narrator reliability for that text.

In conclusion, the problems of narrator reliability particular to the creative autobiography are cited, and possible applications of the approach to other first-person narratives are given. This study is not exhaustive, and the need for further research in this area is apparent.


Arts and Humanities | Communication | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America | Playwriting | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Theatre and Performance Studies