Master of Arts
Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media
Mario D'Agostino, Ph.D.
Juliette C. Kitchens, Ph.D.
Melissa Bianchi, Ph.D.
The quintessential superhero is an American Monomyth; a figure who is selfless, cunning, and headstrong, seeking nothing for themself in favor of the collective. What this figure is not, however, is queer. This project examines how queer audiences utilize slash fanfiction to queer the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain America in order to “write back” to the canon that excludes them. This thesis does not simply look at what fans do within slash fanfiction; rather, it explicitly examines how the practice challenges the original text the piece is responding to. The project applies a queer rhetorical analysis, utilizing José Esteban Muñoz’s concept of queer time, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s structure of binaries, Paul Booth’s furthering of Mikhail Bakhtin’s seminal concept of the carnivalesque, and Lawrence Grossberg’s model of maps of mattering to observe how three pieces of slash fanfiction subvert the structure of The American Monomyth. As a structure of cultural ideals, the American Monomyth privileges heterosexuality as a pillar of culture and deems anything outside of its hegemonic definition as lesser. In observing how the slash fanfiction stories use queerness to rhetorically confront Captain America’s position as an American Monomyth, I propose a more inclusive framework: The Queer American Monomyth.
Carlos Rodriguez Rosa. 2021. "We Can (All) Be Heroes" The American Monomyth and the Problem with a Queer Captain America. Master's thesis. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, . (59)