Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Reader 1

Kim-Trang Tran

Reader 2

Ryan Engley

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This thesis explores how popular narrative structures imply that our reality should be stagnant, thereby leaving us as viewers unprepared for the notion of change. I introduce the term “narrative permanence” as a story structure that assumes the foundations of a narrative are absolute. These stories therefore consider structural change as a threat or abnormal. I analyzed examples such as The Simpsons and news coverage of the BP oil spill to demonstrate how popular media frames change as an unnatural occurrence that must be neutralized. My thesis then culminated in an animated short about a person living in a seaside town that’s been abandoned due to extreme weather. The protagonist’s struggle to maintain their lifestyle in an ever-changing landscape challenges narrative permanence by making structural change the foundation of the narrative, while a desire to remain stagnant is the obstacle that must be overcome.

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