Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Joseph Sobol

Committee Members

Delanna Reed, Andrew Herrmann


In this thesis, I explore how performance storytellers create intense focus on imaginal realities through language—a phenomenon sometimes called “transport” or “realm-shift.” To this end, recordings of performances by two professional storytellers were transcribed and examined through the lens of frame theory and discourse analysis. Examination of these transcripts shows that storytellers employ clusters of linguistic involvement strategies around frame transitions, facilitating realm-shift. Additionally, it shows that throughout a telling, tellers shape discourse around frame shifts that draw attention to significant elements, particularly those that establish a story’s relevance to the occasion of its telling and those that contribute to meaningful story interpretation. This research highlights the ways that meaningful interpretation of a story depends on successful navigation of frames, revealing that the power of a storytelling event depends largely on the connections between realms of discourse.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.