Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School

Communication Studies and Theatre


This study rhetorically analyzes the musical West Side Story. The musical is analyzed using Walter Fisher's narrative paradigm. The narrative paradigm allows the substance of the narrative to be isolated as well as the devices used in the narrative form. The results of the narrative analysis revealed the major theme to be that each individual must struggle to find his/her role in society. The society may accept or reject the role based on the values of the individual. A conflict of values between love and hate was revealed as the major conflict of values. The narrative form analyzed in this study was the music. The quintet "Tonight" was analyzed using the five elements of music. The combination of narrative substance and form was considered effective. Conclusions of the study implicate an empathetic connection of the narrative and the musical form.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Bernstein, Leonard, 1918-1990 West side story

Bernstein, Leonard, 1918-1990 West side story Tonight quintet

Discourse analysis, Narrative

Musicals -- United States -- History and criticism



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University