Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Vincent Pérez

Second Committee Member

Gary Totten

Third Committee Member

Steven Sexton

Fourth Committee Member

Miriam Melton-Villanueva

Number of Pages



Honor is misunderstood within popular culture, but it is also misunderstood within academic contexts. This is due to a decoupling of the term from its long historical significance, a significance that must not be ignored. That is because honor in the Americas is a structure of the hemisphere’s colonial legacy, its manifestation in the cultural fabric a result of the invasion of the continents by European settlers and colonizers. In the case of history, philosophy, and social science, the study of honor is beginning to undergo appropriate theorization to recognize that legacy; however, within literary studies disciplines, critical understanding of honor and its influence on the literary tradition is still lacking. This study demonstrates that failing to acknowledge honor and its influence on literature, especially literature of the twentieth century, undermines our ability to adequately address the diverse and distinct literary traditions of various regions around the Americas, which in turn undermines our ability to understand our literary tradition outside the often constraining confines of the nation-state, a framework that is often biased towards U.S. literary output. By using Raymond Williams’s historical framework of epochal analysis that exposes the discursive interplay between dominant, residual, and emergent cultural forces in concert with important theoretical frameworks established by Hemispheric and Transnational scholars, it is possible to see honor as a once dominant and now residual cultural force. Doing so recovers honor from scholarly obscurity and recertifies the term as a dynamic subject of inquiry, defining the subject not only in ideological terms but demonstrating its connection to the material conditions of an American Global South, a semi-feudal agrarian hacienda and plantation economic base ruptured in the face of modern monopoly capitalism. Readings of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury, Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony confirm themerit of conducting such studies within twentieth-century American literary contexts, uncovering the ways that honor has influenced identity at individual, family, and community levels as well as on race, class, and gender identity formations—influences that often authorize discrimination. Furthermore, the extensive presence of honor within these works suggests that honor is still an important residual cultural force on the consciousnesses of artists well into the twentieth century, beckoning scholarly explorations of the rupture of the honor code and its influence on literary form, particularly modernist fiction. These findings suggest that many more readings and studies must be undertaken to fully grasp the influence of honor on the hemisphere and its most important literature.


Colonialism; Hemispheric; Honor; Raymond Williams; Settler Colonialism; Transnational


Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | History

File Format


File Size

101100 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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