Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Heather Blatt

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Vanessa Sohan

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Jason Pearl

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


digital media, battlefield 1, video games

Date of Defense



This thesis examines two works from different mediums, the short story “How to Tell a True War Story” by Tim O’Brien and the video game Battlefield 1, to compare how each constructs empathy using virtual reality and mimetic communication between audience and the work. The thesis draws from both digital media studies and affect theory to construct a nuanced view of how empathy functions in the works. The body responds to empathy physically. As social creatures, humans feel the emotions of those around them, even if those around them are virtually constructed. In other words, the thesis will explore how video games have been used historically and what their effects are on gamers, especially gamers’ bodies and emotional responses to the constructed virtual reality. This work aims to show how the lines of fiction and reality become blurred to establish empathy within a narrative and virtual reality space.





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