Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

Program

English

First Advisor/Chairperson

Russell Prather

Second Advisor

Mollie Freier

Abstract

This essay examines the image of the library in texts by Jonathan Swift, Jorge Luis Borges, and Robin Sloan. Libraries are prevalent institutions in many cultures throughout the world, often known through positive or negative stereotypes. By studying texts whose time periods, subject matter, and genre all differ, an image of the library appears that takes into account both positive and negative aspects to create a holistic image. The methods used to evaluate the texts include close reading, Frye’s archetypal theory, and approaches to the semiotic method championed by both Tancheva and Stelmakh. This study found that each story reveals a battle that occurs as a result of an element of fear within the library. These battles, internal or external, cause the characters to confront their emotional responses to libraries, work through their ambivalence, reflection, and ultimately make a choice about their response to the library. The resulting image of the library is a positive one, one that has survived a battle of conflicting emotions and emerged full of hope.

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