Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




A journalist's range of interests may be as varied and complex as the range of interests of the audience to whom he is appealing. Whereas Samuel Feinberg in Women's Wear Daily writes mainly for persons interested in business, a perusal through decades of Time shows its writers trying to reach a larger audience and thus writing on scores of different topics. The longevity of an author's work correlates to the success with which he captures his audience's characteristics and oral traditions. We find that such writers as E. B. White, Finley Peter Dunne, and Mark Twain have succeeded in almost becoming folklore heroes through the use of numerous journalistic styles, ranging from straight reportage to subjective commentary; thus their works are read and cherished for many years.

Charles Rice McDowell, Jr. is another such journalist. In recording and frequently commenting upon various traits of our culture, I believe that his work captures our national folklore (that is, the characters, characterizations and oral traditions that make the group recognizable as a group in the present and the future), and therefore merits serious consideration. It is this writer's intent to study Charles McDowell's definition of our national folklore by reviewing its traits as revealed by his many modes of journalistic interpretation. It may be enlightening first to take a look at McDowell's literary and personal background.