Project Title: Suppose You Were the Last One Left: The Function of Terror Management Theory in Cormac McCarthy's The Road
BASIS Advisor: Mr. Hansen
Onsite Mentor: Hope Garcia
Terror management theory (TMT) is a social psychology theory that rationalizes how humans deal with their universal, subconscious fear of death. TMT explains that humans process such fears through two mechanisms: proximal defenses, which are conscious and immediate responses to death anxiety, and distal defenses, which are prolonged responses to death anxiety in which people embrace certain cultural values to evade existential terror. This is known as the dual-process model of TMT. The Road, a Pulitzer-prize winning novel written by American author Cormac McCarthy, describes the journey of an unnamed father and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The prevalence of death imagery in this novel indicates that there is a significant body of text that TMT can be applied to. This prompted the research question, “How can terror management theory’s dual process model be applied to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to generate a new understanding of The Road, as well as of terror management theory?” To investigate this inquiry, I utilized a qualitative method to record down quotes from the novel. These quotes were sorted into three categories: “death anxiety provocation,” “proximal defenses,” and “distal defenses.” After collecting quotes from The Road, I will conduct a quantitative analysis of the amount of times death anxiety, proximal defenses, and distal defenses manifested in the novel.
Reflections and Projections: The End of “The Road”
And just like that, my AP Research project has reached the end of it’s road… The Road… Hm… Ultimately, the results of this study suggest a revised understanding of both post-apocalyptic literature and of TMT’s dual-process model. While post-apocalyptic novels usually follow the journey of characters trying to physically survive, perhaps what motivates these characters […]
Data Analysis: No CS Knowledge Required :’)
If this is the first of my blog posts that you’ve stumbled upon, then hello! And if you’re on a senior-project-blog-reading-spree, then hello to you as well. And to the people who have managed to remain interested in my research, I extend an extra friendly “hello” to you! (Because God knows I’ve struggled to remain […]
Final Data: Featuring a Low-Quality Picture of a Graph!
Hello hello! If you’re new to my project, hello! And if you’re coming back, hello! (You get a hello, you get a hello, everyone gets a hello!) To recap, my research inquiry is “How can terror management theory’s dual process model be applied to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to generate a new understanding of The […]
Preliminary Data: A Reminder that Reading is still Fun and Fresh
To the newcomers of my blog, welcome and hello! And to returning readers, welcome and hello! As always, tune in regularly for an extra greeting! As a reminder, my AP Research project is focusing on discovering intersection between psychology and literature. More specifically, I am focusing on how terror management theory can be applied to Cormac McCarthy’s […]
Methodology: Or Lack of…?
Hello new people! And if you’re an old person (age-wise or otherwise), hello! See, you get an extra greeting when you’re a returning readers. So check back regularly for not one, but TWO whole greetings! I really struggled to craft a methodology for my literature research project. I remember going to Dr. Brown multiple times, […]
Literature Review: A Desperate Attempt to Prove that Literature Research is Still Relevant
If you are new, hello! And if you’re joining me again, then hello again! See, if you read multiple of my blog posts, you get TWO greetings. So tune in weekly to get an extra greeting! As an avid book-reader, the phrase “literature review,” especially in the context of literature research, has always been confusing […]
Introduction: Welcome to My AP Research Project!
Hello all! I’m Krystal and I am currently a student in AP Research. As a part of this course, I will be conducting individual research. Unlike others pursuing senior projects, AP Research is centered around creating and presenting a completely independent research report; everything from the creation of our research questions to the collection of […]