UNT Theses and Dissertations - 71 Matching Results

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The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition
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, and thus salvation, it illustrates that the abolitionist's intent was not merely to save the slave, but to redeem blacks first in the eyes of white Christians by opening blacks to an understanding and acceptance of God. Perhaps more importantly, abolitionists would use black salvation to buy back their own souls and the soul of their nation in the eyes of God in order to regain their own salvation lost in the slave trade. But ironically, they had to appear to be saving others to save themselves. So white abolitionists used the black narratives to persuade their overwhelmingly white audience ...
“The Angular Degrees of Freedom” and Other Stories
The preface, " Performing Brain Surgery: The Problematic Nature of Endings in Short Fiction," deals with the many and varied difficulties short story writers encounter when attempting to craft endings. Beginning with Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor and moving to my own work, I discuss some of the obscure criteria used to designate a successful ending, as well as the more concrete idea of the ending as a unifying element. Five short stories make up the remainder of this thesis: "In-between Girls," "Crocodile Man," "Surprising Things, Sometimes Amusing," "Good Jewelry," and "The Angular Degrees of Freedom."
Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison
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 though one could argue that this goal is still present in contemporary African-American fiction. Animals-as-trope also functions to express the African-American woman writer's understanding that 1) all oppressions stem from the same source; 2) that the division between nature/culture is a false onethat a universal connection exists between all living creatures; and 3) that an ethic of caring, or relational epistemology, can be extended to include non-human animals. Twentieth-century African-American writers such as Hurston, Walker, and Morrison participate in what anthropologists term, "neototemism," which is the contemporary view that humankind is part of nature, or a vision that Morrison would ...
Animals That Die
The thesis has two parts. Part I is a critical essay entitled "Lessons Under the Amfalula." Part II is the collection of poems entitled "Animals That Die."
Anne Brontë's New Women: Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as Precursors of New Woman Fiction
Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were published more than forty years before the appearance of the feminist type that the Victorians called the “New Woman;” yet, both novels contain characteristics of New Woman fiction. By considering how Brontë's novels foreshadow New Woman fiction, the reader of these novels can re-enact the “gentlest” Brontë as an influential feminist whose ideology informed the construction of the radical New Woman. Brontë, like the New Woman writers, incorporated autobiographical dilemmas into her fiction. By using her own experiences as a governess, Brontë constructs Agnes Grey's incongruent social status and a morally corrupt gentry and aristocracy through her depiction of not only Agnes's second employers, the Murrays, but also the morally debauched world that Helen enters upon her marriage to Arthur Huntingdon in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Moreover, Brontë incorporates her observations of Branwell's alcoholism and her own religious beliefs into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Although Brontë's novels contain autobiographical material, her heroines are fictional constructions that she uses to engage her readers with the woman question. Brontë accomplishes this engagement through her heroines' narrative re-enactments of fictional autobiographical dilemmas. Helen's diary and Agnes's diary-based narrative produce the pattern of development of the Bildungsroman and foreshadow the New Woman novelists' Kunstlerromans. Brontë's heroines anticipate the female artist as the protagonist of the New Woman Kunstlerromans. Agnes and Helen both invade the masculine domain of economic motive and are feminists who profess gender definitions that conflict with dominant Victorian ideology. Agnes questions her own femininity by internalizing the governess's status incongruence, and Helen's femininity is questioned by those around her. The paradoxical position of both heroines anticipates the debate about the nature and function of art in which the New Woman writers engaged. Through her reconciliation of the aesthetic ...
"The Barroom Girls" and Other Stories
This creative thesis is comprised of five original short stories and a critical preface. The preface discusses the changing cultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic landscape of the modern American South and the effects-positive, negative, and neutral-these changes have had on the region's contemporary literature, including the short stories contained within.
Bass Reeves: a History • a Novel • a Crusade, Volume 1: the Rise
This literary/historical novel details the life of African-American Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves between the years 1838-1862 and 1883-1884. One plotline depicts Reeves’s youth as a slave, including his service as a body servant to a Confederate cavalry officer during the Civil War. Another plotline depicts him years later, after Emancipation, at the height of his deputy career, when he has become the most feared, most successful lawman in Indian Territory, the largest federal jurisdiction in American history and the most dangerous part of the Old West. A preface explores the uniqueness of this project’s historical relevance and literary positioning as a neo-slave narrative, and addresses a few liberties that I take with the historical record.
Between the Waves: Truth-Telling, Feminism, and Silence in the Modernist Era Poetics of Laura Riding Jackson and Muriel Rukeyser
This paper presents the lives and early feminist works of two modernist era poets, Laura Riding Jackson and Muriel Rukeyser. Despite differences of style, the two poets shared a common theme of essentialist feminism before its popularization by 1950s and 60s second wave feminists. The two poets also endured periods of poetic silence or self censorship which can be attributed to modernism, McCarthyism, and rising conservatism. Analysis of their poems helps to remedy their exclusion from the common canon.
Challenge the Silence
This collection of personal essays about incest, abuse, and depression explores the lasting effects of an invisible childhood. The essays follow the protagonist from the age of five to her early twenties. Her brother, at a young age, becomes sexually abusive of her and her sisters, and her parents fail to protect their daughters. The family is divided as the older girls strive to defend their little sisters, while their parents attempt to excuse their son. When her brother is finally sent away, the protagonist is left to salvage what remains of her relationships with her parents.
Claremont Connections
Claremont Connections is a collection of fictional short stories about the relationships between the generations of women in one family and their friends.
Clocks and Mirrors
The essays featured in this collection highlight the gaps, as well as parallels, between mental illness and the human condition. In "Appearances," the narrator struggles with her own visual identity especially after reflecting on her Mom's own lengthy history with the mirror. In "Migrations," the lyrical voice of the narrator carries the reader through the typical day of a clinically depressed female character. Lastly, "Attempting the Fall," addresses the issues society has with mental illness by following the narrator from her suicide attempt to the mental ward.
The Concept of Dignity in the Early Science Fiction Novels of Kurt Vonnegut.
Kurt Vonnegut's early science fiction novels depict societies and characters that, as in the real world, have become callous and downtrodden. These works use supercomputers, aliens, and space travel, often in a comical manner, to demonstrate that the future, unless people change their concepts of humanity, will not be the paradise of advanced technology and human harmony that some may expect. In fact, Vonnegut suggests that the human condition may gradually worsen if people continue to look further and further into the universe for happiness and purpose. To Vonnegut, the key to happiness is dignity, and this key is to be found within ourselves, not without.
"Counting Out The Harvest"
"Counting Out The Harvest" is a collection of poems exploring intimate encounters. The poems reflect on encounters with memories, family, and the natural and cosmic worlds. In one of the poems, "Red-Throated Anole," the speaker works desperately to save a small dying lizard. In "Ice Storm, Post-Divorce," the speaker attempts to decipher a cluster of ladybugs taking refuge in her room. In the title poem, a couple wonders patiently if their crop will eventually grow. In each of these poems there is a present longing for the construction of a meaningful identity by means of the encounter, but the intersection between speaker and world falls short of satisfaction, whether the faultiness lies in the body's inability to find full sustenance, or in the ever-changing fluidity of memory to find stability. But the poems progress from pressing against this difficulty toward finding a contented resignation to the world's cyclical order. The final line of the manuscript, "disrobe a layer to begin again," indicates an arrival at satisfaction, which is found ultimately in continuation.
A Country With No Name
A Country With No Name is a collection of thirty-four poems with a preface explaining the style and influences of the author. The preface defends plain-language techniques in poetry, using W.H. Auden, Wislawa Szymborska, and Paul Simon as examples of poets who take a similar approach. The poems range in topic from personal and familial to societal and abstract. The main subjects encompass interpersonal relationships, romantic and otherwise, and larger concerns, such as the effects of war and modern lifestyles.
Derivation: Excerpts From a Novel
The dissertation consists of a critical preface and excerpts from the novel Derivation. The preface details how the novel Derivation explores the tension between the artist and the academy in the university, as well as the role memory plays in the construction of fictional narratives. The preface also details how narrative voice is used to expand the scope of Derivation, and ends with a discussion of masculine tropes in the novel. Derivation traces the path of a woman trying to rebuild her life in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, returning first to her blue collar roots before pursuing a career as an academic.
Divine and the Everyday Devil (Short Stories)
Divine and the Everyday Devil contains a scholarly preface that discusses the experiences and literary works that influenced the author's writing with special attention in regards to spirituality and sexuality. The preface is followed by six original short stories. "Evil" is a work addressing a modern conception of evil. "Eschatology" concerns a man facing his own mortality. "The Gospel of Peter" tells the story of a husband grappling with his wife's religious beliefs. "The Mechanics of Projects" relates the experiences of a woman looking for love in Mexico. "The Rocky Normal Show" involves a husband growing apart from his wife and "Mutant: An Origin Story" is about a teenager trying to find his own unique identity.
A Drop of Oil
Many Christian writers point to God through their fiction without openly evangelizing. The images their words evoke lift their secular and religious readers' heads, for God is reflected in their use of language, the emotions they describe, and the actions of their characters. The preface and short stories in this collection aim to show that God's presence can be felt even when people are suffering due to human decisions and mistakes. He is with His creations in the midst of their pain to impart hope when they need it most.
Eaten: A Novel
This novel operates on two levels. First, it is a story concerning the fate of a young woman named Raven Adams, who is prompted into journeying westward after witnessing what she believes to be an omen. On another level, however, the novel is intended to be a philosophical questioning of western modes of “science-based” singular conceptualizations of reality, which argue that there is only one “real world” and anyone who deviates from this is “crazy,” “stupid,” or “wrong.” Raven as a character sees the world in terms of what might be called “magical thinking” in modern psychology; her closest relationship is with a living embodiment of a story, the ancient philosopher Diogenes, which she believes is capable of possessing others and directing her journey. As the story continues the reader comes to understand Raven’s perceptions of her reality, leading to a conceptualization of reality as being “multi-layered.” Eventually these layers are collapsed and unified in the final chapters. The novel makes use of many reference points including philosophy, classical mythology, folklore, religion, and internet social media in order to guide the reader along Raven’s story.
Elizabeth Bishop in Brasil: An Ongoing Acculturation
Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979), one of the foremost modern American poets, lived in Brasil during seventeen-odd years beginning in 1951. During this time she composed the poetry collection Questions of Travel, stand-alone poems, and fragments as well as prose pieces and translations. This study builds on the work of critics such as Brett Millier and Lorrie Goldensohn who have covered Bishop’s poetry during her Brasil years. However, most American critics have lacked expertise in both Brasilian culture and the Portuguese language that influenced Bishop’s poetry. Since 2000, in contrast, Brasilian critic Paulo Henriques Britto has explored issues of translating Bishop’s poetry into Portuguese, while Maria Lúcia Martins and Regina Przybycien have examined Bishop’s Brasil poems from a Brasilian perspective. However, American and Brasilian scholars have yet to recognize Bishop’s journey of acculturation as displayed through her poetry chronologically or the importance of her belated reception by Brasilian literary and popular culture. This study argues that Bishop’s Brasil poetry reveals her gradual transformation from a tourist outsider to a cultural insider through her encounters with Brasilian history, culture, language, and politics. It encompasses Bishop’s published and unpublished Brasil poetry, including drafts from the Elizabeth Bishop Papers at Vassar College. On a secondary level, this study examines a reverse acculturation in how Brasilian popular and literary communities have increasingly focused on Bishop since her death, culminating in the 2013 film, Flores Raras (Reaching for the Moon in English). Understanding this extremely rare and sustained intercultural junction of Bishop in Brasil, a junction that no American poet has made since, adds a crucial angle to twentieth-first century transnational literary perspectives.
Ethics in Technical Communication: Historical Context for the Human Radiation Experiments
To illustrate the intersection of ethical language and ethical frameworks within technical communication, this dissertation analyzes the history and documentation of the human radiation experiments of the 1940s through the 1970s. Research propositions included clarifying the link between medical documentation and technical communication by reviewing the literature that links the two disciplines from the ancient period to the present; establishing an appropriate historiography for the human radiation experiments by providing a context of the military, political, medical, and rhetorical milieu of the 1940s to the 1970s; closely examining and analyzing actual human radiation experiment documentation, including proposals, letters, memos, and consent forms, looking for established rhetorical constructions that indicate a document adheres to or diverts from specific ethical frameworks; and suggesting the importance of the human radiation documents for studying ethics in technical communication. Close rhetorical analysis of the documents included with this project reveals consistent patterns of metadiscourse, passive and nominal writing styles, and other rhetorical constructions, including negative language, redundancies, hedges, and intensifiers, that could lead a reader to misunderstand the writer's original ethical purpose. Ultimately this project finds that technical communicators cannot classify language itself as ethical or unethical; the language is simply the framework with which the experimenters construct their arguments and communicate their work. Technical communicators can, however, consider the ethical nature of behavior according to specific ethical frameworks and determine whether language contributes to the behavior.
"For the Ruined Body"
This dissertation contains two parts: Part I, "Self-Elegy as Self-Creation Myth," which discusses the self-elegy, a subgenre of the contemporary American elegy; and Part II, For the Ruined Body, a collection of poems. Traditionally elegies are responses to death, but modern and contemporary self-elegies question the kinds of death, responding to metaphorical not literal deaths. One category of elegy is the self-elegy, which turns inward, focusing on loss rather than death, mourning aspects of the self that are left behind, forgotten, or aspects that never existed. Both prospective and retrospective, self-elegies allow the self to be reinvented in the face of loss; they mourn past versions of selves as transient representations of moments in time. Self-elegies pursue the knowledge that the selves we create are fleeting and flawed, like our bodies. However by acknowledging painful self-truths, speakers in self-elegies exert agency; they participate in their own creation myths, actively interpreting and incorporating experiences into their identity by performing dreamlike scenarios and sustaining an intimate, but self-critical, voice in order to: one, imagine an alternate self to create distance and investigate the evolution of self-identity, employing hindsight and self-criticism to offer advice; two, reinterpret the past and its role in creating and shaping identity, employing a tone of resignation towards the changing nature of the self. This self-awareness, not to be confused with self-acceptance, is often the only consolation found.
Gender and Desire in Thomas Lovell Beddoes' The Brides' Tragedy and Death's Jest-Book
Thomas Lovell Beddoes' female dramatic characters are, for the most part, objectified and static, but these passive women perform a crucial narrative and thematic function in the plays. Alongside the destructive activity of the male characters, they dramatize masculine-feminine unions as idealized and contrived and, thus, unstable. Desire, power and influence, as well as the constrictive aspects of physicality, all become gendered concepts in Beddoes' plays, and socially normative relationships between men and women, including heterosexual courtship and marriage, are scrutinized and found wanting. In The Brides' Tragedy, Floribel and Olivia, the eponymous brides, represent archetypes of innocence, purity, and Romantic nature. Their bridegroom, Hesperus, embodies Romantic masculinity, desiring the feminine and aspiring to androgyny, but ultimately unable to relinquish masculine power. The consequences of Hesperus' attempts to unite with the feminine other are the destruction of that other and of himself, with no hope for the spiritual union in death that the Romantic Hesperus espouses as his ultimate desire. Death's Jest-Book expands upon the theme of male-female incompatibility, presenting heterosexual relationships in the context of triangulated desire. The erotic triangles created by Melveric, Sibylla, and Wolfram and Athulf, Amala, and Adalmar are inherently unstable, because they depend upon the rivalries between the males. Once those rivalries end, with the deaths of Wolfram and Athulf, respectively, Sibylla and Amala fade into nothing, their function as conduits for male homosocial relations at an end. In effect, these failed heterosexual triangles function as a backdrop for the idealized relationship between Melveric and Wolfram, whose desire for each other is mediated through their common pursuit of Sibylla, as well as through their blood-brotherhood. Once Wolfram's physical masculinity is deferred through death, the mixing of his ashes with those of Melveric's dead wife, and reanimation, Melveric and Wolfram descend into the tomb together, united ...
Ghost Machine
This thesis consists of a collection of poems. By virtue of its content and arrangement, the collection ruminates on and attempts to work through the problem of corporeality and bodily experience: the anxieties surrounding illness, mortality, and the physicality of contemporary life. This collection explores the tension inherent in the mind/body duality and, rather than prescribing solutions, offers multiple avenues and perspectives through which to view bodily experience, as well as how that experience affects an individual’s identity, agency, and sense of self.
The Girl Disappeared: the Prostitute of La Isla De Santa Flora
The novella, The Girl Disappeared, focuses on the life of Emalia, a street kid from Mexico. She is taken from the streets of Veracruz and forced into a life of prostitution on the fictitious island of La Isla de Santa Flora. The primary conflict that drives the action of the story is her pending choice between escaping her life of slavery and saving another young woman who is on the verge of being forced into a life of prostitution as well. The novella, as a literary piece, dwells on the question of character agency and explores the multilayered nature of code switching. Language for these women becomes a tool in their struggle against their captives and a means of self-preservation, or sanctuary, as they use their growing bilingualism to foment a limited agency, to act in their own defense.
Godot in Earnest: Beckettian Readings of Wilde
Critics and audiences alike have neglected the idea of Wilde as a precursor to Beckett. But I contend that a closer look at each writer's aesthetic and philosophic tendencies-for instance, their interest in the fluid nature of self, their understanding of identity as a performance, and their belief in language as both a way in and a way out of stagnancy -will connect them in surprising and highly significant ways. This thesis will focus on the ways in which Wilde prefigures Beckett as a dramatist. Indeed, many of the themes that Beckett, free from the constraints of a censor and from the societal restrictions of Victorian England, unabashedly details in his drama are to be found residing obscurely in Wilde. Understanding Beckett's major dramatic themes and motifs therefore yields new strategies for reading Wilde.
"Goodness and Mercy": Stories
The stories in this collection represent an increasingly transcultural world by exploring the intersection of cultures and identities in border spaces, particularly the Mexican-American border. Characters, regardless of ethnicity, experience the effects of migration and deportation in schools, hometowns, relationships, and elsewhere. The collection as a whole focuses on the issues and themes found in Mexican-American literature, such as loss, separation, and the search for identity.
A Hint of Meaning
A Hint of Meaning contains a scholarly preface, "Language, Experimentation, and Craft: Creating a Vivid, Continuous Fictional Dream," that discusses the ambiguities of language and how they relate to different aspects of the craft of writing. Six original short stories follow the preface. "Musical Chairs" explores a woman's conflicting emotions about her ex-husband. "Baby Steps" depicts the struggle of a woman against her father's alcoholism. "Go Home Happy" depicts a day in the life of a video store employee. "Bargain Basement Perfection" contrasts the reality of a relationship with an imagined, perfect relationship. "Did You Hear about Donald and Bitsy?" is an experimental piece that tells a story through gossip. "Glass Angels" explores a minister's relationship with his homosexual son and how that relates to the minister's faith.
Home: A Memoir
Home: A Memoir, a creative non-fiction thesis, is a memoir in the form of personal essays, each exploring some aspect of the meaning of home, how my sense of self has been formed by my relationship to home, and the inevitability of leaving home. Chapter I explores the nature of memory and of memoir, their relationship to each other and to truth, and how a writer's voice shapes memoir. Chapter II, “Paternity,” is an attempt to remember my father, resulting in renewed interest in his past and renewed awareness of his legacy. Chapter III, “Home,” is on the surface about my grandparents' house, but is really about my grandmother. Chapter IV, “Dixie,” is about my contradictory feelings for the South, and my eventual acceptance of the South's complexities.
How to Factor Loss
How to Factor Loss is a collection of poems and translations prefaced by a critical paper over Robert Hass's “Meditation at Lagunitas.” The preface, “A Sensuous Theory, A Sensuous Poem,” explores how Hass merges the discourses of theory and poetry to create a poem that hangs suspended between a confidence and an anxiety about language. The poems in this thesis are primarily responses to finitude. The first section turns toward an “other” as a strategy of placating desire and of reaching both inward and outward. The second section explores the potential failures of art as a means of touching objects. The final section acknowledges that finitude is the condition of humankind, and it turns toward a more tender language, one that embraces limitations and is filled with something like faith. The collection is followed by an appendix which contains translations of several poems by René Guy Cadou and Georg Trakl.
Iconoclast in the mirror.
This work explores identity positions of speakers in modern and contemporary poetry with respect to themes of subjectivity, self-awareness, lyricism, heteroglossia, and social contextualization, from perspectives including Bakhtinian, queer, feminist and postructuralist theories, and Peircian semiotics. Tony Hoagland, W.H. Auden, Adrienne Rich, and the poetic prose of Hélène Cixous provide textual examples of an evolving aesthetic in which the poet's self and world comprise multiple dynamic, open relationships supplanting one in which simple correspondences between signifiers and signifieds define selves isolated from the world. Hypertext and polyamory serve as useful analogies to the semantic eros characteristic of such poetry, including the collection of original poems that the critical portion of this thesis introduces.
“The Inevitable: Withdrawn”
The Inevitable: Withdrawn is a critical preface and collection of non-fiction writing: personal essay, lyric essay, fragments, and experimental forms. The work’s cohesive subject matter is the author’s European vacation directly following her divorce. Within the pieces, the author attempts to reconcile who she is when starting over and she begins to ask questions regarding the human condition: How do I learn to exhibit intimacy again, not just with romantic partners, but with also in a familial way with my father, and how does absence in these relationships affect my journey and how I write about it? How do I view, and remake myself, when finding my identity that was tied to another individual compromised? How does a body, both physical and belonging to me, and physical as text, take certain shapes to reflect my understanding? How do I define truth, and how do I interpret truth and authenticity in both experience and writing? How do I define and know the difference between belief and truth? And finally, how does narrative and language protect, or expose me? The Inevitable: Withdrawn considers debates regarding the definition of narrative in order to address a spectrum of non-fiction writing. The collection takes into consideration non-fiction conventions, form as functionality, philosophy, linguistics, cognitive psychology, prose and poetic theory, and the works of other notable writers.
Inter
This dissertation is has two parts: a critical essay on the lyric subject, and a collection of poems. In the essay, I suggest that, contrary to various anti-subjectivists who continue to define the lyric subject in Romantic terms, a strain of Post-Romantic lyric subjectivity allows us to think more in terms of space, process, and dialogue and less in terms of identity, (mere self-) expression, and dialectic. The view I propose understands the contemporary lyric subject as a confluence or parallax of imagined and felt subjectivities in which the subject who writes the poem, the subject personified as speaker in the text itself, and the subject who receives the poem as a reader are each repeatedly drawn out of themselves, into others, and into an otherness that calls one beyond identity, mastery, and understanding. Rather than arguing for the lyric subject as autonomous, expressive (if fictive) "I,” I have suggested that the lyric subject is a dialogical matrix of multiple subjectivities—actual, imagined, anticipated, deferred—that at once posit and emerge from a space whose only grounded, actual place in the world is the text: not the court, not the market, and not a canon of legitimized authors, but in the relatively fugitive realm of text. In this way, there is no real contradiction between what Tucker terms the intersubjective and the intertextual. The lyric space I am arguing for is ultimately a diachronic process in which readers take up the poem and bring that space partially into their bodies, imaginations, and consciousness even as the poem brings them out, or to the edge, of each of these.
Irony, Humor, and Ontological Relationality in Literature
The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate ontological relationality in literary theory and criticism by critically reflecting on modern theories of literature and by practically examining the literary texts of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde. Traditional studies of literary texts have been oriented toward interpretative or hermeneutic methodologies, focusing on an independent and individual subject in literature. Instead, I explore how relational ontology uncovers the interactive structures interposed between the author, the text, and the audience by examining the system of how the author's creative positioning provokes the reader's reaction through the text. In Chapter I, I critically inquire into modern literary theories of "irony" in Romanticism, New Criticism, and Deconstructionism to show how they tend to disregard the dynamic dimension of interactive relationships between different literary subjects. Chapter II scrutinizes Wilde's humor in An Ideal Husband (1895) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) in order to reveal the ontological relationships triggered by a creative positioning. In chapter III, I examine Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (c. 1400) and the laughter in "The Miller's Tale" in particular, to examine the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of its interactive relationships. In Chapter IV, I explore Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99), Othello (1603-4), and The Winter's Tale (1609-11) so as to show how artistic positioning creatively constructs a relational system of dynamic interactions to circulate social ideals and values. In so doing, this dissertation is aimed at revealing the aesthetic values of literature and the objective scope of literary discourse rather than providing yet another analytical paradigm dependent primarily on a single literary subject. Thus, the ontological study is proposed as an alternative, yet primary, dimension of literary criticism and theoretical practice.
"Is She Going to Die or Survive with Her Baby?": The Aftermath of Illegitimate Pregnancies in the Twentieth Century American Novels
This dissertation is mainly based on the reading of three American novels to explore how female characters deal with their illegitimate pregnancies and how their solutions re-shape their futures and affect their inner growth. Chapter 1 discusses Dorinda Oakley's premarital pregnancy in Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground and draws the circle of limits from Barbara Welter's "four cardinal virtues" (purity, submissiveness, domesticity, and piety) which connect to the analogous female roles (daughter, sister, wife, and mother). Dorinda's childless survival reconstructs a typical household from her domination and absence of maternity. Chapter 2 examines Ántonia Shimerda's struggles and endurance in My Ántonia by Willa Cather before and after Ántonia gives birth to a premarital daughter. Ántonia devotes herself to being a caring mother and to looking after a big family although her marriage is also friendship-centered. Chapter 3 adopts a different approach to analyze Charlotte Rittenmeyer's extramarital pregnancy in The Wild Palms by William Faulkner. As opposed to Dorinda and Ántonia who re-enter domesticity to survive, Charlotte runs out on her family and dies of a botched abortion. To help explain the aftermath of illicit pregnancies, I extend or shorten John Duvall's formula of female role mutations: "virgin>sexually active (called whore)>wife" to examine the riddles of female survival and demise. The overall argument suggests that one way or another, nature, society, and family are involved in illegitimately pregnant women's lives, and the more socially compliant a pregnant woman becomes after her transgression, the better chance she can survive with her baby.
Jezebel's Daughters: A Study of Wilkie Collins and His Female Villains
The term "feminist," when applied to Wilkie Collins, implies he was concerned with rectifying the oppression of women in domestic life as well as with promoting equal rights between the sexes. This study explores Collins the "feminist" by analyzing his portrayals of women, particularly his most powerful feminine creations: his villainesses. Although this focus is somewhat limited, it allows for a detailed analysis of the development of Collins's attitudes towards powerful women from the beginning to the end of his career. It examines the relationship between Collins's developing moral attitudes and social beliefs, on the one hand, and the ideas of Victorian feminists such as Josephine Butler and feminist sympathizers such as John Stuart Mill, on the other. This interaction, while never overt, reveals the ambivalence and complexity of Collins's "feminist" attitudes. Of the five novels in this study, Antonina (1850), Basil (1852), Armadale (1866), Jezebel's Daughter (1880), and The Legacy of Cain (1889), only one was published at the zenith of Collins's career in the 1860s. Each of the villainesses in these novels, their ideas and experiences, are crucial to understanding Collins's "feminist" impulses. Looking at them as powerful women who detest domestic oppression, one becomes aware that Collins feared such powerful women. But at the same time, he found something fiercely attractive about them. One also realizes that he was never fully capable of breaking the prevailing literary conventions which dictated that wickedness be punished and virtue rewarded (The Legacy of Cain is perhaps an exception, depending on how one views Helena's feminist revolution). The reading of Collins's novels offered in this study presents a broad, eclectic approach, utilizing the tenets of a number of different theoretical approaches such as new historicism, psychoanalytic criticism, and deconstruction, as well as feminist criticism. It contextualizes Collins's novels and his "feminist" ...
Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation
For Muscogee Creek poet Joy Harjo, poetry is a real world force that can empower the reader by utilizing mythic memory, recovery of history, and a spiral journey to regain communal identity. Her poetic career transforms from early lyric poems to a hybridized form of prosody, prose, and myth to accommodate and to reflect Harjo's concerns as they progress from personal, to tribal, and then to global. She often employs a witnessing strategy to combat the trauma caused by racism in order to create the possibility for renewal and healing. Furthermore, Harjo's poetry combats forces that seek to define Native American existence negatively. To date, Harjo's poetic works create a myth that will refocus humanity's attention on the way in which historical meaning is produced and the way difference is encountered. In an effort to revise the dominant stories told about Indians, Harjo privileges the idea that Native Americans are present and human, and it is this sense of humanity that pervades her poetry. Sequentially, Joy Harjo's volumes of poetry-She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), and The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994)-create a regenerative cycle that combats the effects of oppressive history and racism. Through her poetry, violent and tragic events are transformed into moments of hope and renewal. Her collections are powerful testimonies of endurance and survival. They directly defy the stereotype of the "vanishing" or "stoic" Indian, but more importantly, they offer regeneration and grace to all peoples. The poems create a map to help navigate the multiple simultaneous realms of existence, to find a way to travel through the barriers that separate existence. In this dissertation, I employ various reading strategies to support my contentions. Blending a postcolonial standpoint with feminism, I believe Harjo uses a feminist ethnic bildungsroman to ...
Language and the Art of Writing
I start writing by conjuring up an image in my mind. Sometimes it will be something that I have thought about for a while, sometimes it will be something that I sit around attempting to create. Either way, it is simply the idea that I need in order to get started. People will say, "Just sit down and write" which I can do, but it does not mean I will end up anywhere worthwhile. In my writing I need a focus. I need an idea or just one image to get me writing and I can base an entire story off of that one image. I think the reason this works for me is because in my mind it is an illustration and always something that is vibrant and unique. I want the image to stand out and to mean something because I feel that it comes to me for a specific reason, I just have to piece it all together and let the characters and plot unfold for themselves. People often say this, that the characters end up running the story. I think this is true, but in my case my stories are not so driven by character or plot as they are by language. A language driven piece can be a difficult thing to manipulate because it needs to have some direction and some purpose other than just being pleasing to the ear/mind/reader. And what is the point of a language driven piece?
Luke's Mama
A creative nonfiction thesis, Luke's Mama is a memoir of personal essays that explore how the birth of my son has affected the ways that I relate within and interpret different areas of my life. Chapter I, Introduction, identifies personal and ethical concerns involved in telling my story and explores how others have handled similar issues. Chapter II, Family, illustrates how my relationship with my family of origin has changed since I've become a parent and also how my new family and I interact with society. Chapter III, Calling, depicts my struggle in finding a balance between work and family priorities. Chapter IV, Partner, presents a contrast between my relationship with my partner before and after my son's birth. Chapter V, Parent, displays the beginning of my ever-growing relationship with my son and sense of parenthood.
Metaphors, Myths, and Archetypes: Equal Paradigmatic Functions in Human Cognition?
The overview of contributions to metaphor theory in Chapters 1 and 2, examined in reference to recent scholarship, suggests that the current theory of metaphor derives from long-standing traditions that regard metaphor as a crucial process of cognition. This overview calls to attention the necessity of a closer inspection of previous theories of metaphor. Chapter 3 takes initial steps in synthesizing views of domains of inquiry into cognitive processes of the human mind. It draws from cognitive models developed in linguistics and anthropology, taking into account hypotheses put forth by psychologists like Jung. It sets the stage for an analysis that intends to further understanding of how the East-West dichotomy guides, influences, and expresses cognitive processes. Although linguist George Lakoff denies the existence of a connection between metaphors, myths, and archetypes, Chapter 3 illustrates the possibility of a relationship among these phenomena. By synthesizing theoretical approaches, Chapter 3 initiates the development of a model suitable for the analysis of the East-West dichotomy as exercised in Chapter 4. As purely emergent from bodily experience, however, neither the concept of the East nor the concept of the West can be understood completely. There exist cultural experiences that may, depending on historical and social context, override bodily experience inclined to favor the East over the West because of the respective connotations of place of birth of the sun and place of death of the sun. This kind of overriding cultural meaning is based on the “typical, frequently recurring and widely shared interpretations of some object, abstract entity, or event evoked in people as a result of similar experiences. To call these meanings ‘cultural meanings' is to imply that a different interpretation is evoked in people with different characteristic experiences. As such, various interpretations of the East-West image-schema exist simultaneously in mutually exclusive or ...
Middle Men: Establishing Non-Anglo Masculinity in Southwestern Literature
By examining southwestern masculinity from three separate lenses of cultural experience, Mexican American, Native American and female, this thesis aims to acknowledge the blending of masculinities that is taking place in both the fictitious and factual southwest. Long gone are the days when the cowboys chased down the savage Indians or the Mexican bandits. Southwestern literature now focuses on how these different cultures and traditions can re-construct their masculinities in a way that will be beneficial to all. The southwest is a land of borders and liminal spaces between the United States and Mexico, between brown and white, legal and illegal. All of these borders converge here to create the last American frontier. These converging borders also encompass converging traditions, cultures, and genders. By blending the cowboy, the macho, and the warrior, perhaps these Southwestern writers can construct a liminal masculinity more representative of the southwest itself.
Misrecognized and Misplaced: Race Performed in African American Literature, 1900-2015
In my dissertation, I explore the ways in which racial identity is made complex through various onlookers' misrecognition of race. This issue is particularly important considering the current state of race relations in the United States, as my project offers a literary perspective and account of the way black authors have discussed racial identity formation from the turn of the century through the start of the twenty-first century. I highlight many variations of misrecognition and racial performance as a response to America's obsession with race.
'My Tattooed Mind'
This thesis features a collection of nonfiction essays.
"Off Main Street": Stories
"Off Main Street" is a collection of short stories concerned, primarily, with the expression of womanhood in the American Midwest.
Parts of Women
Parts of Women contains a scholarly preface that discusses the woman's body both in fiction and in the experience of being a woman writer. The preface is followed by five original short stories. "Parts of Women" is a three-part story composed of three first-person monologues. "Controlled Burn" involves a woman anthropologist who discovers asbestos in her office. "Tango Lessons" is about a middle-aged woman who's always in search of her true self. "Expatriates" concerns a man who enters the lives of his Hare Krishna neighbors, and "Rio" involves a word-struck man in his attempt to form a personal relationship.
Past tense marking in Chinese-English interlanguage.
This data study concentrates on the past tense marking in the interlanguage (IL) of Chinese speakers of English. Following the assumptions of Hawkins & Lizska, (2003), it is assumed that unlike native speakers of English, Chinese speakers of English have a higher level of optionality within the past tense marking of their grammars. It is claimed that the primary reason for this occurrence is the lack of the functional feature T(ense) [+/-past] in Mandarin Chinese. If a particular functional feature is missing in a learner's L1 grammar, it is thought that it will be absent in one's L2 grammar as well. Three advanced Chinese speakers of English were tested on the past tense marking in their IL production. Both spontaneous oral and reading speech were used for this data analysis.
Patrol: Excerpts From a Novel
The dissertation consists of a critical preface and excerpts from the novel Patrol. The preface explores how the novel Patrol utilizes characters that engage with tropes of the Romantic Genius in order to establish their subjectivity while navigating the standardizing mechanisms of twenty-first century information technologies. The preface analyzes how the rise of the organic food movement, the usage of biotech genetic engineering, and the tactics of Big Data-era marketing all inform the critical underpinnings of Patrol, situating the novel in conversation with works of fiction and nonfiction that also explore the interplay of these topics with contemporary American culture. Set primarily in Cincinnati, Ohio, the bifurcated narrative of the novel Patrol enlists the perspectives of both a science-tech father from the Boomer generation, Tim Smith, and his millennial public relations-major daughter, Sarah Smith. Both work in industries that seek to utilize the concept of the individual genius in service of quantification. Tim and Sarah’s interactions with Alexandra Smith, a family member who transitions from female to male over the course of the novel, cause both protagonists to recognize that their own identities are malleable, and this discovery goads each into reexamining their career choices and personal relationships. The plot depicts the outcome of these explorations, culminating in a series of choices for Tim and Sarah that showcase the fundamental change in each character. Unable to simply quantify themselves and those around them, Tim and Sarah instead adopt a more nuanced view of the world that seeks to find a balance between the individualistic conceit of the Romantic genius and the quantifying mandates of technology.
The Pink Papers
The Pink Papers is a collection of three short stories and a novel in progress consisting of four chapters. Each piece is a work of original fiction. The preface addresses the female writer and the female voice in fiction. "Broken Clock" and "Pink Paper" are the stories of two girls coping with endometriosis. "Normal Capacity" looks at the loss of a dream through the eyes of a first-year law student. The novel in progress, titled Blanchard, OK, is set in a rural farming town in Oklahoma. The novel tells the stories of 24-year-old Robin, her Aunt Paula, and Paula's boyfriend, Sam.
Playing Jonah's Hand: Poems
Playing Jonah's Hand: Poems is a collection of poems with a critical introduction. The introduction consists of two independent essays, both of which examine intersections between poetry and Christian theology. In the first essay I identify the imaginative faculty as the primary source of agency for the speaker in John Donne's "Holy Sonnets." Working upon Barbara Lewalski's assertion that these sonnets represent "the Protestant paradigm of salvation in its stark, dramatic, Pauline terms," I consider the role of the imagination in the spiritual transformation represented within the sequence. Donne foregrounds a Calvinistic theology that posits both humanity's total depravity and God's grace and mercy as the only avenue of transcendence. Whatever agency the speaker exhibits is generated by the exercise of his imagination, which leads him to a recognition of his sinfulness and the necessity of God's grace. In the second essay I investigate the presence of a negative theology within "Lachrimae, or Seven Tears Figured in Seven Passionate Pavans," a sonnet sequence by Geoffrey Hill. In this sequence, Hill demonstrates the possibilities that surface through an integration of negative theology with postmodern theories of language, both of which have been influenced by the philosophical writings of Martin Heidegger. The two inform and transform each other while producing a tension that is productive ground for poetry. The main body of the manuscript includes a collection of poems built upon thematic parallels with the Biblical account of Jonah, acknowledging the character's continued frustration with God in Chapter Four of Jonah, which is commonly forgotten in popular and religious representations of the story. The four sections in the manuscript include poems that struggle to negotiate the tensions between the will of a compelling God and the will of the individual.
Practical Astronomy
This dissertation is a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface considers Anthony’s Hecht’s long poem, “The Venetian Vespers,” and the ways in which the temporally unsettled situation of the poem’s speaker parallels a problem facing narrative-meditative poets. The preface is divided into two main sections that explore divisions of this larger conflict. The first discusses the origins and effects of the speaker’s uprootedness in time, and the ways in which he tries to both combat and embrace this dislocation by temporarily losing himself in the immediacy of observing visual art. In this section I connect the dilemma of the speaker, who wishes to escape his memory by focusing outwards, to the dilemma of a representational poet who, despite his position towards the past, must necessarily confront or recollect memories and emotions in order to create authentic descriptions or characters. The second section focuses on the production and appreciation of artistic works (both visual and literary) and how the meaning, production and appreciation of beauty are inseparable from its existence within the physical limits of time. Here I discuss the significance of Hecht’s character who is surrounded with beauty yet describes himself as a person who only observes and does not create anything. Through this character, I argue that Hecht reveals a fundamental conflict that exists between artistic creation and chronological time, and that his poem embodies a particular and paradoxical view of beauty that resonates deeply with the motivations and struggles of writing poems.
Reading the Ruptured Word: Detecting Trauma in Gothic Fiction from 1764-1853
Using trauma theory, I analyze the disjointed narrative structure of gothic works from 1764-1853 as symptomatic of the traumatic experience. Gothic novels contain multiple structural anomalies, including gaps in experience that indicate psychological wounding, use of the supernatural to violate rational thought, and the inability of witnesses to testify to the traumatic event. These structural abnormalities are the result of trauma that characters within these texts then seek to prevent or repair via detection.