Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Joe Pellegrino

Committee Member 1

Dustin Anderson

Committee Member 2

Caren Town


Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman helped to change the cultural view of Death personified through their work with the Discworld novels and Sandman comics. Despite taking seemingly different paths in portraying Death, these two authors presented a cohesive view of mortality that encourages readers to re-consider the long-held Western cultural notions of Death as a frightening figure to be tricked or avoided at all cost. Despite meeting Barthes’ criteria of the work of “bliss” that changes the mythology of the culture, academic circles frequently overlook the importance of “pop culture” writers, especially when dealing with underrepresented genres such as fantasy, horror, and media such as comics. A thorough look at how Pratchett and Gaiman subverted or skewed well known tropes in their Deaths, and the greater philosophy of mortality their works suggest, aims to explore not only the impact made on the larger culture but also why their works merit much-needed academic study.

Research Data and Supplementary Material