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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Decade: 1990-1999
 Degree Discipline: English
 Degree Level: Doctoral
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition

The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition

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Date: December 1999
Creator: Evans, Dennis F.
Description: The dissertation argues that the development of the British abolition movement was based on the abolitionists' perception that their actions were kairotic; they attempted to shape their own kairos by taking temporal events and reinterpreting them to construct a kairotic process that led to a perceived fulfillment: abolition. Thus, the dissertation examines the rhetorical strategies used by white abolitionists to construct an abolitionist kairos that was designed to produce salvation for white Britons more than it was to help free blacks. The dissertation especially examines the three major texts produced by black persons living in England during the late eighteenth centuryIgnatius Sancho's Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), Ottobauh Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), and Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789)to illustrate how black rhetoric was appropriated by whites to fulfill their own kairotic desires. By examining the rhetorical strategies employed in both white and black rhetorics, the dissertation illustrates how the abolitionists thought the movement was shaped by, and how they were shaping the movement through, kairotic time. While the dissertation contends that the abolition movement was rhetorically designed to provide redemption, ...
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The Agolmirth Conspiracy

The Agolmirth Conspiracy

Date: December 1996
Creator: Elston, James C. (James Cary)
Description: Written in the tradition of the classic spy novels of Ian Fleming and the detective novels of Raymond Chandler, The Agolmirth Conspiracy represents the return to the thriller of its traditional elements of romanticism, humanism, fast-moving action, and taut suspense, and a move away from its cynicism and dehumanization as currently practiced by authors such as John Le Carre' and Tom Clancy. Stanford Torrance, an ex-cop raised on "old-fashioned" notions of uncompromising good and naked evil and largely ignorant of computer systems and high-tech ordinance, finds himself lost in a "modern" world of shadowy operatives, hidden agendas, and numerous double-crosses. He is nevertheless able to triumph over that world when he puts his own honor, his own dignity, and his very life on the line, proving to himself and to his adversaries that such things can still make things easier to see amid today's swirling moral fog.
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The American Eve: Gender, Tragedy, and the American Dream

The American Eve: Gender, Tragedy, and the American Dream

Date: May 1993
Creator: Long, Kim Martin
Description: America has adopted as its own the Eden myth, which has provided the mythology of the American dream. This New Garden of America, consequently, has been a masculine garden because of its dependence on the myth of the Fall. Implied in the American dream is the idea of a garden without Eve, or at least without Eve's sin, traditionally associated with sexuality. Our canonical literature has reflected these attitudes of devaluing feminine power or making it a negative force: The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, and The Sound and the Fury. To recreate the Garden myth, Americans have had to reimagine Eve as the idealized virgin, earth mother and life-giver, or as Adam's loyal helpmeet, the silent figurehead. But Eve resists her new roles: Hester Prynne embellishes her scarlet letter and does not leave Boston; the feminine forces in Moby-Dick defeat the monomaniacal masculinity of Ahab; Miss Watson, the Widow Douglas, and Aunt Sally's threat of civilization chase Huck off to the territory despite the beckoning of the feminine river; Daisy retreats unscathed into her "white palace" after Gatsby's death; and Caddy tours Europe on the arm of a Nazi officer long after Quentin's suicide, ...
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American Grotesque from Nineteenth Century to Modernism: the Latter's Acceptance of the Exceptional

American Grotesque from Nineteenth Century to Modernism: the Latter's Acceptance of the Exceptional

Date: August 1994
Creator: Kisawadkorn, Kriengsak
Description: This dissertation explores a history of the grotesque and its meaning in art and literature along with those of its related term, the arabesque, since their co-existence, specifically in literature, is later treated by a well-known nineteenth-century American writer in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque- Theories or views of the grotesque (used in literature), both in Europe and America, belong to twelve theorists of different eras, ranging from the sixteenth century to the present period, especially Modernism (approximately from 1910 to 1945)--Rabelais, Hegel, Scott, Wright, Hugo, Symonds, Ruskin, Santayana, Kayser, Bakhtin, (William Van) O'Connor, and Spiegel. My study examines the grotesque in American literature, as treated by both nineteenth-century writers--Irving, Poe, Hawthorne, and, significantly, by modernist writers--Anderson, West, and Steinbeck in Northern (or non-Southern) literature; Faulkner, McCullers, and (Flannery) O'Connor in Southern literature. I survey several novels and short stories of these American writers for their grotesqueries in characterization and episodes. The grotesque, as treated by these earlier American writers is often despised, feared, or mistrusted by other characters, but is the opposite in modernist fiction.
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Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison

Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison

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Date: August 1999
Creator: Erickson, Stacy M.
Description: In this dissertation, I show how 20th century African-American women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison utilize animals-as-trope in order to illustrate the writers' humanity and literary vision. In the texts that I have selected, I have found that animals-as-trope functions in two important ways: the first function of animal as trope is a pragmatic one, which serves to express the humanity of African Americans; and the second function of animal tropes in African-American women's fiction is relational and expresses these writers' "ethic of caring" that stems from their folk and womanist world view. Found primarily in slave narratives and in domestic fiction of the 19th and early 20th centuries, pragmatic animal metaphors and/or similes provide direct analogies between the treatment of African-Americans and animals. Here, these writers often engage in rhetoric that challenges pro-slavery apologists, who attempted to disprove the humanity of African-Americans by portraying them as animals fit to be enslaved. Animals, therefore, become the metaphor of both the abolitionist and the slavery apologist for all that is not human. The second function of animals-as-trope in the fiction of African-American women writers goes beyond the pragmatic goal of proving African-Americans's common humanity, even ...
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Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Hell: the Rhetoric of Universality in Bessie Head

Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Hell: the Rhetoric of Universality in Bessie Head

Date: May 1998
Creator: Edwards, George, Jr.
Description: This dissertation approaches the work of South African/Botswanan novelist Bessie Head, especially the novel A Question of Power, as positioned within the critical framework of the postcolonial paradigm, the genius of which accommodates both African and African American literature without recourse to racial essentialism. A central problematic of postcolonial literary criticism is the ideological stance postcolonial authors adopt with respect to the ideology of the metropolis, whether on the one hand the stances they adopt are collusive, or on the other oppositional. A key contested concept is that of universality, which has been widely regarded as a witting or unwitting tool of the metropolis, having the effect of denigrating the colonial subject. It is my thesis that Bessie Head, neither entirely collusive nor oppositional, advocates an Africanist universality that paradoxically eliminates the bias implicit in metropolitan universality.
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The Apostasy (and Return) of Lenny Gorsuch

The Apostasy (and Return) of Lenny Gorsuch

Date: August 1998
Creator: Guidici, Guy R.
Description: This comic romantic novel engages the question of how the Christianity of the southern, fundamentalist world of the Texas bible belt, finding its primary cultural assumptions about human existence challenged by the more confusing elements of a modern sensibility, a sensibility over-laden with strange-attractors, mechanistic psychologies, relativistic physics and ethics, evolutionary premises, newly proclaimed rights and freedoms, a deterioration in cultural political naivete, and the advent of an increasingly incomprehensible set of technologies, can survive. The "central" character is a young, slightly deformed man raised by his ostensibly "Christian" grandparents who, through a rather odd set of legal circumstances and physical events, not only become wealthy, but somewhat powerful in their immediate community. He finds himself involved with a young woman, raised in an equally "Christian" household, but, as is true of any romantic plot, the relationship between the two is destined, by virtue of circumstance and the meddling of other characters, to struggle and mishap. In the end, the text, in its own fashion, asserts that the Christian impulse can survive the modern era by virtue of one of its central tenets: faith, in the Christian world, is very much the same as life itself, a process of waiting ...
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Asleep in the Arms of God

Asleep in the Arms of God

Date: December 1999
Creator: Clay, Kevin M.
Description: A work of creative fiction in the form of a short novel, Asleep in the Arms of God is a limited-omniscient and omniscient narrative describing the experiences of a man named Wafer Roberts, born in Jack County, Texas, in 1900. The novel spans the years from 1900 to 1925, and moves from the Keechi Valley of North Texas, to Fort Worth and then France during World War One, and back again to the Keechi Valley. The dissertation opens with a preface, which examines the form of the novel, and regional and other aspects of this particular work, especially as they relate to the postmodern concern with fragmentation and conditional identity. Wafer confronts in the novel aspects of his own questionable history, which echo the larger concern with exploitative practices including racism, patriarchy, overplanting and overgrazing, and pollution, which contribute to and climax in the postmodern fragmentation. The novel attempts to make a critique of the exploitative rage of Western civilization.
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Awen, Barddas, and the Age of Blake

Awen, Barddas, and the Age of Blake

Date: May 1997
Creator: Franklin, William Neal
Description: Studies of William Blake's poetry have historically paid little attention to the Welsh literary context of his time, especially the bardic lore (barddas), in spite of the fact that he considered himselfto be a bard and created an epic cosmos in which the bardic had exalted status. Of particular importance is the Welsh concept of the awen, which can be thought of as "the muse," but which must not be limited to the Greek understanding of the term For the Welsh, the awen had to do with the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit, and beyond that, with the poet's connection with his inspiration, or genius, whether Christian of otherwise. This study explores the idea of inspiration as it evolves from the Greek idea of the Muse, as it was perceived in the Middle Ages by Welsh writers, and as it came to be understood and utilized by writers in the Age of Blake.
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"Beowulf": Myth as a Structural and Thematic Key

"Beowulf": Myth as a Structural and Thematic Key

Date: May 1990
Creator: Aitches, Marian A. (Marian Annette)
Description: Very little of the huge corpus of Beowulf criticism has been directed at discovering the function and meaning of myth in the poem. Scholars have noted many mythological elements, but there has never been a satisfactory explanation of the poet's use of this material. A close analysis of Beowulf reveals that myth does, in fact, inform its structure, plot, characters and even imagery. More significant than the poet's use of myth, however, is the way he interlaces the historical and Christian elements with the mythological story to reflect his understanding of the cyclic nature of human existence. The examination in Chapter II of the religious component in eighth-century Anglo-Saxon culture demonstrates that the traditional Germanic religion or mythology was still very much alive. Thus the Beowulf poet was certainly aware of pre-Christian beliefs. Furthermore, he seems to have perceived basic similarities between the old and new religions, and this understanding is reflected in the poem. Chapter III discusses the way in which the characterization of the monsters is enriched by their mythological connotations. Chapter IV demonstrates that the poet also imbued the hero Beowulf with mythological significance. The discussion in Chapter V of themes and type-scenes reveals the origins of ...
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The Blurred Boundaries between Film and Fiction in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, and Other Selected Works

The Blurred Boundaries between Film and Fiction in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, and Other Selected Works

Date: August 1999
Creator: Quazi, Moumin Manzoor
Description: This dissertation explores the porous boundaries between Salman Rushdie's fiction and the various manifestations of the filmic vision, especially in Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, and other selected Rushdie texts. My focus includes a chapter on Midnight's Children, in which I analyze the cinematic qualities of the novel's form, content, and structure. In this chapter I formulate a theory of the post-colonial novel which notes the hybridization of Rushdie's fiction, which process reflects a fragmentation and hybridization in Indian culture. I show how Rushdie's book is unique in its use of the novelization of film. I also argue that Rushdie is a narrative trickster. In my second chapter I analyze the controversial The Satanic Verses. My focus is the vast web of allusions to the film and television industries in the novel. I examine the way Rushdie tropes the "spiritual vision" in cinematic terms, thus shedding new light on the controversy involving the religious aspects of the novel which placed Rushdie on the most renowned hit-list of modern times. I also explore the phenomenon of the dream as a kind of interior cinematic experience. My last chapter explores several other instances in Rushdie's works that are influenced by a filmic ...
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(Broken) Promises

(Broken) Promises

Date: August 1994
Creator: Champion, Laurie, 1959-
Description: The dissertation begins with an introductory chapter that examines the short story cycle as a specific genre, outlines tendencies found in minimalist fiction, and discusses proposed definitions of the short story genre. The introduction examines the problems that short story theorists encounter when they try to.define the short story genre in general. Part of the problem results from the lack of a definition of the short story in the Aristotelian sense of a definition. A looser, less traditional definition of literary genres helps solve some of the problem. Minimalist fiction and the short story cycle are discussed as particular forms of the short story. Sixteen short stories follow the introduction.
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Chaucer and the Rhetorical Limits of Exemplary Literature

Chaucer and the Rhetorical Limits of Exemplary Literature

Date: May 1999
Creator: Youmans, Karen DeMent
Description: Though much has been made of Chaucer's saintly characters, relatively little has been made of Chaucer's approach to hagiography. While strictly speaking Chaucer produced only one true saint's life (the Second Nun's Tale), he was repeatedly intrigued and challenged by exemplary literature. The few studies of Chaucer's use of hagiography have tended to claim either his complete orthodoxy as hagiographer, or his outright parody of the genre. My study mediates the orthodoxy/parody split by viewing Chaucer as a serious, but self-conscious, hagiographer, one who experimented with the possibilities of exemplary narrative and explored the rhetorical tensions intrinsic to the genre, namely the tensions between transcendence and imminence, reverence and identification, and epideictic deliberative discourse.
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Children and Childhood in Hawthorne's Fiction

Children and Childhood in Hawthorne's Fiction

Date: August 1999
Creator: Sitz, Shirley Ann Ellis
Description: This paper explores the role of children and childhood in Nathaniel Hawthorne's fiction. Moreover, it asserts that the child and childhood are keys to a better understanding of Hawthorne's fiction.
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Death and the Concept of Woman's Value in the Novels of Jane Austen

Death and the Concept of Woman's Value in the Novels of Jane Austen

Date: December 1996
Creator: Moring, Meg Montgomery, 1961-
Description: Jane Austen sprinkles deaths throughout her novels as plot devices and character indicators, but she does not tackle death directly. Yet death pervades her novels, in a subtle yet brutal way, in the lives of her female characters. Austen reveals that death was the definition and the destiny of women; it was the driving force behind the social and economic constructs that ruled the eighteenth-century woman's life, manifested in language, literature, religion, art, and even in a woman's doubts about herself. In Northanger Abbey Catherine Morland discovers that women, like female characters in gothic texts, are written and rewritten by the men whose language dominates them. Catherine herself becomes an example of real gothic when she is silenced and her spirit murdered by Henry Tilney. Marianne Dashwood barely escapes the powerful male constructs of language and literature in Sense and Sensibility. Marianne finds that the literal, maternal, wordless language of women counts for nothing in the social world, where patriarchal,figurative language rules, and in her attempt to channel her literal language into the social language of sensibility, she is placed in a position of more deadly nothingness, cast by society as a scorned woman and expected to die. Fanny Price ...
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Dickens in the Context of Victorian Culture: an Interpretation of Three of Dickens's Novels from the Viewpoint of Darwinian Nature

Dickens in the Context of Victorian Culture: an Interpretation of Three of Dickens's Novels from the Viewpoint of Darwinian Nature

Date: August 1996
Creator: Moon, Sangwha
Description: The worlds of Dickens's novels and of Darwin's science reveal striking similarity in spite of their involvement in different areas. The similarity comes from the fact that they shared the ethos of Victorian society: laissez-faire capitalism. In The Origin of Species, which was published on 1859, Charles Darwin theorizes that nature has evolved through the rules of natural selection, survival of the fittest, and the struggle for existence. Although his conclusion comes from the scientific evidence that was acquired from his five-year voyage, it is clear that Dawinian nature is reflected in cruel Victorian capitalism. Three novels of Charles Dickens which were published around 1859, Bleak House, Hard Times, and Our Mutual Friend, share Darwinian aspects in their fictional worlds. In Bleak House, the central image, the Court of Chancery as the background of the novel, resembles Darwinian nature which is anti-Platonic in essence. The characters in Hard Times are divided into two groups: the winners and the losers in the arena of survival. The winners survive in Coketown, and the losers disappear from the city. The rules controlling the fates of Coketown people are the same as the rules of Darwinian nature. Our Mutual Friend can be interpreted as ...
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Dirty Jokes and Fairy Tales: David Mamet and the Narrative Capability of Film

Dirty Jokes and Fairy Tales: David Mamet and the Narrative Capability of Film

Date: May 1997
Creator: Haspel, Jane Seay
Description: David Mamet is best known as a playwright, but he also has a thriving film career, both as screenwriter and as director. He has taken very seriously each of these roles, formulating theories that, he suggests, account for the creative choices he makes. Though Mamet sometimes contradicts himself, as when he suggests that viewers should have the satisfaction of constructing their own meaning of a work, but at the same time is devoted to montage, which works by juxtaposing images that lead to a single interpretation, he clearly sees the story as a critical avenue into the spectator's unconscious, where he hopes it will resonate with a truth that speaks directly to the individual. His films House of Games, Things Change, and Homicide clearly reflect his ideas on the best ways of conveying a story on film. In House of Games, Mamet draws on Bruno Bettelheim's theories to construct a fairy tale designed to act on adult viewers in the same way that fairy tales act on the child. In Things Change, he creates a fable that explores issues of friendship and honor within the milieu of the gangster genre. And in Homicide, Mamet uses the expectations viewers bring to ...
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The Disfigured Muse : Supreme Readers in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens

The Disfigured Muse : Supreme Readers in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens

Date: August 1993
Creator: Hobbs, Michael B. (Michael Boyd)
Description: In "Discourse in the Novel," Mikhail Bakhtin tells us that "Every discourse presupposes a special conception of the listener, of his apperceptive background and the degree of his responsiveness." My study of Wallace Stevens's poetry examines Stevens's "conception of the listener"—in the form of his intratextual readers, their responsiveness, and the shapes that responsiveness takes—and attempts to formulate out of that examination Stevens's theory of reading embodied in his canon of poems.
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The Dostoevskyan Dialectic in Selected North American Literary Works

The Dostoevskyan Dialectic in Selected North American Literary Works

Date: December 1995
Creator: Smith, James Gregory
Description: This study is an examination of the rhetorical concept of the dialectic as it is realized in selected works of North American dystopian literature. The dialectic is one of the main factors in curtailing enlightenment rationalism which, taken to an extreme, would deny man freedom while claiming to bestow freedom upon him. The focus of this dissertation is on an analysis of twentieth-century dystopias and the dialectic of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor parable which is a precursor to dystopian literature. The Grand Inquisitor parable of The Brothers Karamazov is a blueprint for dystopian states delineated in anti-utopian fiction. Also, Dostoevsky's parable constitutes a powerful dialectical struggle between polar opposites which are presented in the following twentieth-century dystopias: Zamiatin's Me, Bradbury's Farenheit 451, Vonnegut's Player Piano, and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The dialectic in the dystopian genre presents a give and take between the opposites of faith and doubt, liberty and slavery, and it often presents the individual of the anti-utopian state with a choice. When presented with the dialectic, then, the individual is presented with the capacity to make a real choice; therefore, he is presented with a hope for salvation in the totalitarian dystopias of modern twentieth-century literature.
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East, West, Somewhere in the Middle

East, West, Somewhere in the Middle

Date: December 1997
Creator: Behlen, Shawn Lee
Description: A work of creative fiction in novella form, this dissertation follows the first-person travails of Mitch Zeller, a 26-year-old gay man who is faced with an unexpected choice. The dissertation opens with a preface which examines the form of the novella and the content of this particular work.
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Edmund Spenser as Protestant Thinker and Poet : A Study of Protestantism and Culture in The Faerie Queene

Edmund Spenser as Protestant Thinker and Poet : A Study of Protestantism and Culture in The Faerie Queene

Date: August 1993
Creator: Kim, Hoyoung
Description: The study inquires into the dynamic relationship between Protestantism and culture in The Faerie Oueene. The American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr makes penetrating analyses of the relationship between man's cultural potentials and the insights of Protestant Christianity which greatly illuminate how Spenser searches for a comprehensive religious, ethical, political, and social vision for the Christian community of Protestant England. But Spenser maintains the tension between culture and Christianity to the end, refusing to offer a merely coherent system of principles based on the doctrine of Christianity.
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Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Quest for the Father

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Quest for the Father

Date: December 1996
Creator: Yegenoglu, Dilara
Description: This dissertation explores Elizabeth Barrett's dependency on the archetypal Victorian patriarch. Chapter I focuses on the psychological effects of this father-daughter relationship on Elizabeth Barrett. Chapter II addresses Barrett's acceptance of the conventional female role, which is suggested by the nature and the situation of the women she chooses to depict. These women are placed in situations where they can reveal their devotion to family, their capacity for passive endurance, and their wish to resist. Almost always, they choose death as an alternative to life where a powerful father figure is present. Chapter III concentrates on the highly sentimental images of women and children whom Barrett places in a divine order, where they exist untouched by the concerns of the social order of which they are a part. Chapter IV shows that the conventional ideologies of the time, society's commitment to the "angel in the house," and the small number of female role models before her increase her difficulty to find herself a place within this order. Chapter V discusses Aurora Leigh's mission to find herself an identity and to maintain the connection with her father or father substitute. Despite Elizabeth Barrett's desire to break away from her paternal ties ...
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The Elusive Mother in William Faulkner's Major Yoknapatawpha Families

The Elusive Mother in William Faulkner's Major Yoknapatawpha Families

Date: May 1995
Creator: Bunnell, Phyllis Ann
Description: Families in much of William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha fiction are built upon traditional patriarchal structure with the father as head and provider and the mother or mother figure in charge of keeping the home and raising the children. Even though the roles appear to be clearly defined and observed, the families decline and disintegrate.
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Everything and Nothing at the Same Time

Everything and Nothing at the Same Time

Date: May 1999
Creator: Ballenger, Hank D.
Description: This paradoxically titled collection of poems explores what the blues and blindness has come to mean to the author.
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