anti hero-salter wide- breaking bad

Divya Aggarwal

Anti Heroes in Popular Television

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Outline – Research Paper

Chosen Media: Breaking Bad (TV Series)

Paper Title: The Transgressive Transformation of Walter White in Breaking Bad

Paragraph 1: Introduction

  • Introduce the Title – “The Transgressive Transformation of Walter White in Breaking Bad”
  • Define Transgressive – Unpack the title of the essay
  • Thesis Statement – This essay will analyze this narrative journey by examining the ‘delicately balanced’ relationship ‘between crime and convention’, which provides viewers with a complex moral discourse about the social character of deviance, conformity and transgression. Examining Walt’s decision to ‘Break Bad’ to maintain both a conventional and a criminal identity in light with the employment of Walt’s strong narrative dialogue and the imagery used to create his ‘darker persona’ of Heisenburg.

Paragraph 2: Background

  • About the storyline of the TV show
  • Introduction of Walt’s character – Job, Family, Cancer, Connection to DEA

Paragraph 3 & 4: American Dream

  • Walt’s Ideology – His reasons for going into the meth business
  • Relating his ideology to the American Dream.
  • Introduce the theme of crime and convention – drawing the clear distinction between the two.

Paragraph 5, 6 & 7: Transgressive Journey – Conformity and Deviance

  • Analysis of the thin line between conformity and deviance in Walt’s behavior.
    • Walts misguided naïve persona vs. Heisenburg
    • Need vs. Want – his drive to keep going even after he has made more than planned (Include reasoning of his medical illness and family)
    • The artist’ of crystal methamphetamine production vs. Chemistry teacher
    • Lust for power

Paragraph 8 & 9: Comparison of Walter White to Olivia Pope (Female Anti-Hero from scandal) or any other anti hero

  • Similarities between the journey embarked by both characters – How both characters share a delicately balanced relationship between crime and convention.

Paragraph 10: Conclusion ­


Annotated Bibliography

  • Mittell, Jason. Complex TV: the poetics of contemporary television storytelling. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2015.

This source is a book about Complex TV by Jason Mittel that offers sustained analysis of the poetics of television narrative, focusing on how storytelling has changed in recent years and how viewers make sense of these innovations.

  • Garcia, Alberto N. Emotions in Contemporary TV Series. Basingstoke: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, 2016.

This source is a book which focuses on analyzing the role of emotions in these narratives as we as how they relate to personal and collective identity in specific contemporary TV shows and genres.

  • Vaage, Margrethe Bruun. The antihero in American television. New York: Routledge, 2015.

This source is a book that highlights the moral psychology of fiction by especially focusing on Anti Heroes. It also specifically focuses on Walter White.

  • Hiatt, Brian. “Q&A: ‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Vince Gilligan Goes Deep on the Final Season.” Rolling Stone. September 06, 2012. Accessed March 29, 2017.

This source is a magazine article is a script of an interview with the creator of breaking bad, Vince Gilligan. It offers direct insight into the writers mind.

  • “Breaking Bad: when did you lose Walter White?” Den of Geek. July 31, 2013. Accessed March 29, 2017.

This source is a blog post that underlines the six main turning points of Walter’s identity from a protagonist to an antagonist. All the instances mentioned are important for analyze his Transgressive journey.

  • Sepinwall, A. (2015, November 11). ‘Scandal’ has turned Olivia Pope into TV’s best anti-hero since Walter White. Retrieved April 01, 2017, from

This source is an article, which highlights the development of Olivia Pope into a female Anti-Hero by pointing out instances were she showed attributes of deviant behavior.

  • Dennis, D. (2013, October 10). It’s not a Scandal to think Olivia Pope’s a rogue not a hero | David Dennis. Retrieved April 01, 2017, from

This source is a newspaper article that comments on the character of Olivia Pope and how her past informed her future. It also helps informs why she is an anti-hero and not a hero.


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