Publication Date

April 2015

Advisor(s)

Sally Bachner, Sean McCann

Major

English

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This critical thesis examines the use of commercial branding in two 21st century American novels, Pattern Recognition by William Gibson and Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon. Beginning with an examination of how Neoliberal economics and the opening of global markets have changed the meaning of the brand, I then consider each novel in turn to analyze what brands mean for these authors and their characters, and how the novels portray the subjective realities of life in global capitalism. Each novel's protagonist struggles with a creeping sense that once-meaningful forms of consumer culture have lost their significance, and each novel suggests a different way of understanding and dealing with what appears as a crisis in brand meaning.

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