The Methods of Breaking Bad

Essays on Narrative, Character and Ethics


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About the Book

Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad is a central work in the recent renaissance in television-making. The visionary scope and complexity of the series demand rigorous critical analysis. This collection of new essays focuses on a variety of themes. Walter White is discussed as father, psychopath and scientist and as an example of masculinity. The essayists examine the series in terms of gender, neo-liberal politics and health care reform, as well as the more traditional aesthetic categories of narrative construction, experimentation, allusion and genre. With television the dominant artistic medium of early 21st century America, Breaking Bad should be viewed as a superbly designed work reflecting widespread cultural concerns.

About the Author(s)

Jacob Blevins is a professor of English at McNeese State University. He lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Dafydd Wood lives in Chester, Vermont.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jacob Blevins and Dafydd Wood
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9578-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1935-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction (Jacob Blevins) 1

Flies and ­One-Eyed Bears: The Maturation of a Genre (Dafydd Wood) 11

Flies in the Marketplace: Nietzsche and Neoliberalism in Breaking Bad (Jeffrey R. Di Leo) 26

What Writers Can Learn from Breaking Bad: The Risks and Rewards of Deliberate Disorientation (Neil Connelly) 47

Our “word … is half someone else’s”: Walt and the Literary Echoes of Whitman (Miguel E.H. ­Santos-Neves) 62

“Round the decay / Of that colossal wreck”: Pride and Guilt as Narrative Emotions (Pablo Echart and Alberto N. García) 78

Say My Name: The Fantasy of Liberated Masculinity (Jason Landrum) 94

Patriarchy and the “Heisenberg Principle” (Philip Poe) 109

Walter White: The Psychopath to Whom We Can All Relate? (Meron Wondemaghen) 122

Breaking Bad Stereotypes about Postpartum: A Case for Skyler White (Rebecca Price Wood) 132

Breaking Health Care (Matthew A. Butkus) 147

Scientific Ethics and Breaking Bad (Ron W. Darbeau) 165

Talking ’bout Some Heisenberg: Experimenting with the Mad Scientist (Cheryl D. Edelson) 183

Bibliography 201

About the Contributors 209

Index 211