Department or Program



From Aristotle’s Rhetoric to Kenneth Burke’s more contemporary Grammar of Motives, classical rhetorical scholarship has traditionally focused on examining the strategies, styles, and best methods of persuasion through a focus on the individual rhetor, and how they can achieve their desired end. The rise of interactive technologies in the past twenty years have provided contemporary challenges to these classical theories. A player’s ability to interact with a game, translating into an ability to participate in the construction of a text, has now allowed the argument-building process to become co-creative...or so it would appear. This thesis examines the struggle for authorial control in the digital age by examining The Stanley Parable, a game that pits the player in direct opposition to the narrator. The symbolic struggle in The Stanley Parable not only questions the ways in which game stories are told, but the significance of the player interacting with a game’s story. It also raises questions about the significance of these choices and their role in constructing meaning. I argue that the introduction of such technologies creates new rhetorical opportunities that expose the importance of narrative structure, authorship and agency within persuasion. In doing so, I draw from the works of Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Ian Bogost, to examine why “ownership” in storytelling is significant, and why The Stanley Parable serves as a significant, postmodern addition to the ways persuasion can occur.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Cavallero, Jonathan

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.