The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: English Studies: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Judith A. Dorn

Second Advisor

Constance M. Perry

Third Advisor

Joseph M. Melcher

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

freedom of speech, media cognizatti, transgressive literature, liminal zones, heterology, cognitive poetics, film criticism


The First Amendment creates a space where new readings in media (new knowledge and understanding) can be assessed through qualitative research and content analysis of contentious topics found in liminal zones. The truth (critical thinking) needs to be born in this arena and vetted through this adversarial process. Speech should never be suppressed. Without total freedom of speech, many truths are restricted, hidden, considered subversive, pushed into the dark corners of the internet, or lost to history. At a time when people are actively calling for colleges and governments to restrict and censor speech, it is not surprising that many people get their information from sources once considered to be on the fringe of society, and they are using technology as their guide to reach it. This study comprises research into transgressive literature in chapter one, the male gaze in film in chapter two, class warfare in chapter three, suicide in chapter four, censorship in chapter five, monsters in chapter six, and dictatorships in chapter seven. This thesis argues that the First Amendment protects individuals in these liminal areas of discourse, and it is in the arena of adversarial dialogue that new and dominant arguments surface. The arguments that prevail are appropriated by the group through media cognizatti (the experience of media culture) that guide and allow for more accurate critical world views to be assessed and expressed by individuals, groups, and organizations about what is comparatively true.