Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Emilie Raymond

Second Advisor

John Kneebone

Third Advisor

Cindy Jackson


This thesis’ purpose is to demonstrate, via the examination of popular youth literature (primarily pulp magazines and comic books) from the 1920s through to the 1950s, that the stories found therein drew their definitions of heroism and villainy from an overarching, nativist fear of outsiders that had existed before the Great War, but intensified afterwards. These depictions were transferred to America’s “new” enemies following both the United States’ entry into the Second World War, as well as the early stages of the Cold War. This transference of nativist imagery left behind the ethnically-based origins of such depictions, showing that racism was not the sole and simple reason for such exaggerated visages. A process of change, in regards to America’s nativist sentiment, so virulent after the First World War, will be explained by way of the popular, inexpensive escapism of the time, the pulp magazines and comic books of the early to mid-twentieth century.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010

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