Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type


First Advisor

Prof. Adam Bradley


The Aurora Theater and Newton School shootings of 2012, coupled with a profusion of violent depictions in the United States media, spurred this thesis into creation. The following paper studies the portrayal of violence in contemporary American literature through the analysis of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club (1996). A close analysis and comparison of these two novels allows similarities to emerge, notably a tendency to glorify violence and the function of violence as an ideology in both works. These themes create a mirror that reflects contemporary American culture at large, ultimately providing clues to the aspects of American culture that fuel a thirst for violence and incite violent acts.