Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Kocela

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Schmidt

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Noble


In Dharma Bums (1958), by Jack Kerouac, and Americana (1971), by Don DeLillo, the authors explore the complexity of selfhood as pertaining to individual identity and subjectivity in mid-twentieth century American culture and consciousness, paying specific attention to the relation that these concepts have with media, spatiality, and Buddhism. Although numerous critics provide extensive analyses of these texts, authors, and themes, no critic has paired these texts and authors, and investigated these particular themes in relation to selfhood. I argue that in Dharma Bums and Americana, Kerouac and DeLillo each investigate the influence of media, spatiality, and Buddhism on selfhood, as well as provide competing models of selfhood that offer either self-transformation or self-limitation.