Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Lackey, Kris

Second Advisor

Malmgren, Carl

Third Advisor

Hazlett, John


Tony Tanner's book City of Words analyzes American literature from 1950-1970; in the chapter entitled "Everything Running Down" the theme of entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, is explored and revealed to be a common motif within many works of American literature. Tanner's analysis does not specifically address the presence of entropy within the genre of the American road narrative; when considering his analysis presented in "Everything Running Down" with Kris Lackey's analysis of American road narratives presented in his book RoadFrames, the presence of entropy and how it is applied within the American road narrative becomes apparent. Although Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Cormac McCarthy's The Road were published over sixty years apart from one another and are seemingly disparate texts, these two texts reveal the thematic use of entropy which connects them in an ongoing dialogue within the genre of the American road narrative.


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