Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Erin Goss

Committee Member

Dr. Maziyar Faridi

Committee Member

Dr. Megan Eatman


This thesis presents close readings of the 2015 video game Bloodborne and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in order to illuminate how the Gothic genre challenges identity. Both Bloodborne and Northanger Abbey respond to their genres and are preoccupied with the ways that their audiences might interact with them. Bloodborne’s gameplay directly incentivizes players to reflect on the way that they play the game. Northanger Abbey is a parody of the Gothic novel that reflects just as much on the idea of the reader as it does on the conventions of the genre it parodies. Both of these works are engaged in a self-reflexivity that is intrinsically tied to their Gothic elements, and both of these works cause the person interacting with them to evaluate their own participation in the medium. These texts establish an ideal form of audience participation and work to enable their audience to adopt that behavior. Each text leverages its self-reflexivity by creating a relationship with the audience that has consequences for how audiences respond to the texts. Bloodborne uses its systems to incentivize ideal player behavior while Northanger Abbey is written in a way that models ideal reader behavior. Close readings of the endings of each text show how the structure of Gothic texts generate challenges to audience identity while also constructing forms of ideal behavior.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.