Meaning in Life in Incoherent Life Stories. A Comparative Literary Analysis concerning Subjects of Disability Narratives as portrayed in Postmodernist Autobiographies.

  • R. Zwemmer

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


An autobiographical life story portraying elements of coherence is traditionally attributed to provide its storyteller with psychological well-being, a meaningful sense of self-identity, and meaning in life. Autobiographical life stories disrupting and transgressing this dominant ideal of coherence have received significantly less attention. The aim of this research was to examine ‘incoherent life stories’ and its subjects, particularly in relation to the (humanistic) concept of meaning in life, by analyzing three autobiographies of individuals living with either depression, autism, and dementia. The findings of this study show how first, all three narrative subjects of incoherent life stories appear concerned with meaning in their lives. Second, subjects convey meaning in their lives to significantly varying extents. And third, disabilities in subjects’ lives prominently affect experiencing meaning in one’s life. A successful integration of effects and acts of disabilities into one’s life appears to positively contribute to meaning in one’s life.
Date of Award1 Jan 2018
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorA. Swinnen (Supervisor), H. Laceulle (Supervisor) & A. W. Braam (Supervisor)

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