Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brenner, Devon G.

Committee Member

Franz, Dana

Committee Member

Harvey, Ben

Committee Member

Miller, Nicole C.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


Using a Marxist framework with a grounding in critical literacy, this study employs a content analysis methodology to analyze 25 episodes of five of the most popular children’s television cartoons in order to understand how these cartoons portray economic and social systems, as well as how the messages these cartoons express would tend to support these systems. In so doing, this research hopes to provide a conceptual framework that educators and parents can use as a guide for demonstration of a critical approach to understanding the curriculum of children’s media inside or outside of the classroom. Educators can modify this framework to suit the age of the children that they are working with or to better align with the characteristics of the text their students are consuming. While this research may be used as a guide by educators, it is also a comprehensive Marxist analysis of some of the most popular cartoons targeted to pre-school aged children. Analysis of the data indicates these cartoons support a capitalist ideology through the expression of a particular worldview and associated values, which include normalizing authoritarian relationships, promoting consumerism and entrepreneurship, supporting beliefs about work that employers would value, and other views that tend to be valued in a capitalist system.