Star-Spangled Man with a Plan: The Narrative Evolution of Captain America

Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


English (ENGL)

First Advisor

Gary Dauphin


This project examines the Captain America franchise for its significance as historical literature. Created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, two first-generation Jewish immigrants from New York, Captain America first appeared punching Adolf Hitler in the face in 1941, months before the United States entered WWII. This pivotal Marvel character has withstood every subsequent era of American history. How does he resonate with Americans across the board and across the times? To explore this question, key eras of Captain America texts were read in context with their respective time periods, with the findings paired with interviews of persons related to the Captain America franchise and story. The results of the text analysis, interviews, and historical research are housed on a multi-media journalistic website that immerses the visitor in the world of Captain America. A full-length written feature gives an in-depth look at Captain America’s story, several interviews with experts give greater depth and context, and an interactive timeline gives a visual overview of the character in history. Captain America as a hero successfully embodies the sentiments of the American people in a uniquely non-partisan way, and seems to do so in every era in which he’s existed. The project itself finds relevance with both the release of the third Captain America movie (titled “Civil War”) and the upcoming American election.


Uploaded is a PDF version of my feature story; this feature can be found on the "Plot" page of my website, which is linked here and contains the project in its entirety.