Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department



Jacobi, Martin

Committee Member

Skrodzka-Bates , Aga

Committee Member

Barnett , Scot


This essay seeks to draw out the connections between perceptual conversions of reality within the work of Kenneth Burke and the film Inception (Christopher Nolan 2010). By establishing the degree to which Inception portrays an impossible pursuit of objective reality, one can better understand how dramatism implicitly instigates a similar pursuit of a mythic reality separate from any kind of orientational contingency. As way of reacting to this misconception of dramatism made apparent through the metaphor provided by the film, I want to foreground the concept of 'delayed action' as the fundamental basis of Burke's formulation of dramatism in A Grammar of Motives. By directing attention to Burke's dependence upon literary representations for his definition of this concept, I reveal the ways in which dramatism is better defined as a critical attitude, or an act of delay.