Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Robert Snyder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Berish, Ph.D.


carnivalesque, ethos, puerility, rhizome


This paper argues against the charges of puerility in the films of Kevin Smith. I analyze Mallrats (1995), Clerks II (2006) and Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008). To illustrate my contention, I offer close readings of the director's films, particularly the protagonists' bodily/linguistic performances. My efforts will vindicate my assertion that through these specialized performances, through the forceful assertion of their marginal identities, the films' protagonists encroach upon, and finally appropriate, historically dominant spaces. As a result, the spaces they appropriate acquire a new, characteristic hybridity. Michel Foucault's concept of heterotopia provides a framework for delineating the dominant and liminal spaces within Smith's cinematic/real worlds. Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of the 'carnivalesque' helps to elucidate the vagaries of the films' bodily and scriptural performances, while both Kevin Hetherington's concept of utopics and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's notion of the rhizome attempt to marry Bakhtin and Foucault. through the notion of appropriation of public space through performance to ultimately achieve a utopian, pluralistic ethos.