Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Graduate Humanities

Department or Program Chair

Laura Stivers, PhD

First Reader

Leslie Ross, PhD

Second Reader

Christian Dean, PhD


A decade ago, during the summer of 2002, I read Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It made an indelible mark: even the colors and smells of that roof-top porch in Toronto where I read it all the way through still arise in the forefront of my mind every time I think of this text. Since then, I have been captivated with the writings and philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and have sought to understand this interest whenever possible. It is with this introspective eye that I have engaged this thesis project, using the last section of his text as a jumping off place and a touch point. I choose to use a story from my own childhood and to explore some of the relevant themes through visual interpretation. Inspired and cautioned by Nietzsche’s suggestion that, "We cease to think when we refuse to do so under the constraint of language; we barely reach the doubt that sees this limitation as a limitation" (WTP, 283), I have engaged both textual language and visual language in this project. The textual part of the story is secondary however, to the visual.

My interpretation of Nietzsche’s philosophy is that he attempts to illuminate our presumptions and foundational belief systems in a way that is highly effective, or at least can be if we are willing to face the light of his insight with the courage of a truly critical eye—looking both at his words as well as ourselves. His ultimate goal as a philosopher is stated as a will “to…constantly transform everything we are into light and flame; everything that affects us, too—we can do nothing else” (GS, 6). This intentional practice of ‘self-transformation’, or ‘self-overcoming’ is a primary theme in Nietzsche’s work and one that mirrors the human impulse towards growth and inevitable evolutionary process. It is my intention to engage this process through this creative project.

Included in

Philosophy Commons