Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Maya Ravindranath


The following presents an overview of various evaluative devices found in a series of oral narratives from former residents of the West End of Boston, Massachusetts. In working with an archivist at the West End Museum, I was able to read through interviews, each conducted with residents that were displaced from the West End after the urban renewal project of the late 1950s. These interviews were recorded for the purpose of collecting each resident’s experience growing up in the neighborhood. After reading through each interview I found several instances of narrative speech. I conducted a narrative analysis, based on Labov and Waletsky (1967) method to explore the linguistic devices that narrators used to evaluate their experiences. Each device was defined linguistically and analyzed to determine its implications for the narrator. An overarching theme was discovered such that narrators use these devices to cast themselves in a protagonist role in an idealized community. The narrators’ use of language perpetuates this transformation of experience and their nostalgia of the West End.