Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of English


Altman; Robert; 1925-; Fraud; Motion pictures--United States--Plots; themes; etc


This thesis explores the theme of fraudulence in Robert Altman's Nashville. The study focuses on the characters as they perpetuate fraudulence in the film by manipulating or being manipulated by other people in order to achieve what their society values most: stardom and publicity. To illustrate their function as either frauds or authentic individuals, the twenty-four characters have been divided into four groups. The first group, the "manipulators," consists of Hal Phillip Walker, Triplette, Reese, and Barnett. These frauds manipulate and deceive the Nashville populace for the selfish end of achieving publicity. The second category, the "media stars," consists of Haven Hamilton, Barbara Jean, Connie White, Tommy Brown, Tom, and to a degree, Bill and Mary. These characters are frauds because they exhibit, not authentic identities, but illusionary, media-generated archetypal personalities that the "satellites" (the third group) strive to emulate. Satellites Sueleen Gay, Albuquerque, Star, Opal, Lady Pearl, Bud, Norman, Tricycle Man, Private Kelly, and L. A. Joan are all frauds in that they derive a sense of purpose and identity by revolving around the stars or other objects of desire, and often sacrifice their identities and principles in order to be accepted or to become more like those stars. The final category is the "outsiders," consisting of Mr. Greene, Wade, Linnea, and Kenny. These four are the only "authentic" and "genuine" individuals in the film; they do not disguise themselves in order to deceive or manipulate others, and they possess a definite sense of identity and do not compromise it to attain publicity. Through the depiction of fraudulence in Nashville's characters, Altman makes an insightful cultural statement about the values of Bicentennial America. He portrays a land where mendacious people place an inordinate amount of importance on the glossy but empty illusion of fame, but that land also contains individuals who remain honest and grounded by more authentic and human values.


Bibliography: pages 112-113.


iv, 113 pages




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