Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

English, MA

Committee Chair

McDonald, Frances

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Poole, Megan

Committee Member

Poole, Megan

Committee Member

Bertacco, Simona

Author's Keywords

Feminism; ecofeminism; sound studies; Octavia Butler; voice


This thesis focuses on the intersection between sound and bodies as a way of re-envision the concept of human, using Octavia Butler’s Dawn as a case study. Specifically, this study contends that Butler’s re-envisioning is sonic, imagining the concept of self as it is understood by Jean-Luc Nancy’s idea of the “resonant subject,” in that sound embroils us within our environment. This sonic, resonant body is revealed in Dawn through Butler’s adaption of Roland Barthes’ concept of “grain,” which is not merely embodied sound, but the result of artifice – a carefully crafted “slip” that allows for a way of thinking outside of culture. By rethinking the place of artifice within our understanding of sound and the voice, Butler is able to exceed simple symbolic signification, revealing sound as a crease in perception that allows for an entangled way of being.