I'm ready warden : an examination of the rhetoric of death
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This dissertation examines the rhetorical context, preservation, and dissemination of the final statements of American felons executed between 1985 and Spring 2012, as well as the history of these items in the West generally and America specifically. This examination found little variance in final statement genre incidence rates with respect to ethnicity, gender, date of utterance, or any other temporal or demographic factor. As a result, it examines in detail the cultural context which stabilizes and centers this type of utterance, and explores how such statements move through American society and are transformed in the process. It argues that such distortion is productive and both the result of and a key tool in a search for common identity amongst modern Americans.