Laughing at death [electronic resource]: the forms and functions of humor in illness trauma narratives

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Communication


Department of Communication


Advisor: Teresa L. Thompson


This thesis attempts to demonstrate that public storytelling and memoirs - if crafted and shared effectively - may elicit beneficial private/intrapersonal and public/interpersonal functions, and might be utilized as effective media for the formulation and dissemination of humorous health narratives. Through the study of three illness trauma narratives that utilize humor, this thesis analyzes the forms in which productive humor was employed throughout the process of narrative construction, and the information the humorous aspects of the narrative product expresses to audiences about the illness experience. More specifically, this thesis attempts to demonstrate that the integration of humor with health narratives can effectively call attention to health issues such as REM sleep behavior disorder, severe drug addiction, and cancer.


Sick Humor Biography, Storytelling Psychological aspects, Narrative therapy, Laughter Therapeutic use, Wit and humor Psychology

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2010, author