This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Transcendent voices: Heteroglossia and the Power of Female Identity in Three Films by David Lynch




Juhasz, Ildiko

Type of Degree



Communication and Journalism


In this thesis, I perform a feminist-semiotic analysis of three of David Lynch’s movies—Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. I use Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia as the tool for my examination, focusing on how the lead female characters in these films assert their voices against the other conflicting elements within the text. This thesis situates Lynch’s films within feminist film scholarship due to his strong female characters who function as active subjects of the narrative, furthering the action, in opposition with Laura Mulvey’s image of the passive woman. I argue that Lynch’s non-coherent narrative form is particularly useful for feminism because it reveals new representations for women and new ways for them to assert their agency.