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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Jon F. Schamber

First Committee Member

Kenneth Day

Second Committee Member

R. Alan Ray


This thesis focuses on the use of metaphor in characterizing the alleged enemies of Christianity and Americanism during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. A summary of influential political, social, and religious events during the time period examined and biographical profiles precede a metaphoric analysis of the rhetoric of three far-right spokeswomen. The anti-Catholic rhetoric of Alma White, Bishop of the Pillar of Fire Church, the anti-Communist rhetoric of Elizabeth Dilling, suburban crusader of the Mothers' movement, and the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Marilyn Allen, Anglo-Israelite reactionary, provide the data for analysis.

The metaphoric analysis reveals that Catholics, Communists, and Jews are portrayed as "Supreme Evil" and "Supreme Threat" in the metaphors of the three women. By labeling Catholics, Communists, and Jews as evil the rhetors attribute negative value judgements which have the potential to trigger strong emotional reactions in auditors. By claiming that Catholics, Communists, and Jews threaten religious and political freedom in America, the rhetors encourage suppression of, and violence against, members of these groups.

Additionally, four common attitudes and values which underlie the metaphors are delineated and their salience to Fundamentalists, reactionaries, and members of the far right is illustrated. Finally, change in the metaphors over the thirty-year time span is reexamined. The findings support more similarities than differences in specific allegations of evil and threat, and in the emotional tone of the metaphors.



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