Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Renee Schatteman

Second Advisor

Christopher Kocela

Third Advisor

Randy Malamud


This thesis argues that Salman Rushdie and David Foster Wallace attempt to incorporate empathy throughout their fiction in order to induce empathy in their audiences, particularly in Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children and Wallace’s short story “The Suffering Channel.” While both authors incorporate similar techniques respective of their conceptual styles (i.e. postcolonial, postmodern, post-postmodern styles), the defining characteristic between them is metonymy. By establishing the metonymical characteristics of empathy in contrast to the metaphorical characteristics of sympathy, I also explore the metonymic disconnections between Rushdie and Wallace in terms of metaphor, mimesis, and metafiction.