Publication Date

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Communication and Training

First Advisor

Lara Stache, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jason Zingsheim, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Deborah James, Ph.D.


This project is a critical textual analysis of fan discourse surrounding the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” that aired on AMC on October 23rd, 2016. Focusing on paratexts, fandoms, and the violence/horror genre as the theoretical framework, the project highlights fans role in the contemporary age of television and provides insight into how much violence and gore is acceptable for fans of the genre. This project also highlights how the premiere can be read as a societal mirror for violence’s representation in society. The artifact to be analyzed is fan comments on Reddit and Twitter as those sites provided a thread of posts in which fans engaged in dialogue with each other. In the analysis, examples from the episode are used to provide context for the fan comments and to connect the feedback to the episode itself. As a case study, this episode serves as a catalyst demonstrating that fans of the genre have a boundary for acceptable violence and that the episode can be read as a mirror for violence’s representation in society.