Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Cameron F Bushnell

Committee Member

Maya Hislop

Committee Member

Nic Brown


In recent years, there has been a conversation about whether or not narrative theory, and particularly narratology, are fields that are worth pursuing in the modern academy. With narrative theory’s intense focus on categories and binaries, it has fallen out of fashion as fields such as feminism and queer studies have begun to grow rapidly and expose the fluidity of these categories. Theorists such as Robyn Warhol and Susan Lanser have strived to find ways that narrative theory can co-exist and even enrich these newer fields of study while simultaneously learning from them. In this essay, I suggest that one of the ways narrative theory can continue to offer contributions to a variety of fields is through the study of narrative form as it relates to narrative empathy in both lyrical and legal subjects. Through close examinations of two novels written by Black women, Corregidora by Gayl Jones and The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett, I hope to show that studying narratives in a formulaic way can still offer insights outside the rigid categories of traditional narratology and that these examinations can help bolster positive representation of marginalized groups in popular narratives.



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