Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The non-linear narrative of Laurence Sterne's Tri st ram Shandy demands attentive readers. Written under the influence of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, the novel satirizes Lockean "associationism" and illustrates language's inability to express ideas accurately. In the novel, words seldom convey characters' intended meanings, yet Tristram uses language effectively to narrate "self" to his readers. Rather than having his mind's workings conform to the linear nature of traditional discourse, Tristram communicates associatively to intelligent, involved readers without imposing linearity. In this study I examine scholars' work to determine Tristram 's position on Locke's ideas and use Seymour Chatman 's narrative model to study the emerging narrative self by applying his concepts of FA BU LA (story) and SJUZET (discourse). I review Tristram 's self-expression by focusing on techniques of non-li near narration and conclude by examining hypermedia as an alternative model for narrating consciousness that emphasizes the reader, comparing hypermedia's reader to Tristram Shandy's narrator.