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Preferred Name

Justin Grandinetti

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication


Jim Zimmerman


The anarchic Occupy Wall Street protests, which began in 2011, had an immediate impact on politics and the global lexicon. By introducing the terms “the one percent” and “the 99%” into the public sphere, Occupy was able to draw attention to growing global income inequality. This revolutionary spirit was not lost on popular culture, as a number of films that followed the protests were linked to Occupy. The Hunger Games (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Elysium (2013) represent films that were not only extremely successful in the box office, but were also connected to the Occupy Movement because of their themes of dystopian power relationships between small groups of super-rich oppressing the remainder of the population. In the following thesis, I apply rhetorical analysis and theory to these films in order to better understand the way each was influenced by the Occupy Movement. Furthermore, I analyze the message of each film to better illuminate their rhetorical goals and methodology. Ultimately, the application of rhetoric to these films allows for an analysis of the way that contemporary fears about increasing unequal global financial relationships manifest in popular culture via dystopian speculative fiction film.

Keywords: Occupy Movement, Occupy Wall Street, Dystopia, Film, Movies, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises, Elysium, Ralph Cintron, Bruno Latour, Michel Foucault