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A Boy in a Canoe

Description: The dissertation consists of a collection of personal essays about hunting and fishing. Because the essays are narratives and contain dialogue, characterization, description, themes, etc., they fall under the genre of creative nonfiction. The dissertation has two parts. Part I consists of an essay that discusses the author’s struggle to combine creative nonfiction with outdoor writing and also describes the author’s dilemma of writing about hunting, a topic that is often controversial at the university, while a graduate student. Part II of the dissertation consists of narratives that recount the author’s hunting and fishing experiences that occurred in North Texas and in the mountains of New Mexico. The essays discuss fishing for trout and hunting for deer, wild boars, quail, and duck. Three major themes are developed throughout the dissertation. The first theme describes the close relationship that exists between the author and his father. This closeness is partly due to the time that they have shared during decades of hunting and fishing together. The second theme discusses the ethics of hunting and especially focuses on which methods of hunting are ethical and which methods are not. The third theme explores the complex and sometimes unpleasant interactions that occur between sportsmen when they encounter each other while hunting and fishing. This theme explores the give and take attitude that must exist in order for sportsmen to get along. This attitude is necessary because no two outdoorsmen view the outdoors and hunting and fishing in quite the same way.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Parr, David

Generosity and Gentillesse: Economic Exchange in Medieval English Romance

Description: This study explores how three English romances of the late fourteenth century-Geoffrey Chaucer's Franklin's Tale, Thomas Chestre's Sir Launfal, and the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight-employ economic exchange as a tool to illustrate community ideals. Although gift-giving and commerce are common motifs in medieval romance, these three romances depict acts of generosity and exchange that demonstrate fundamental principles of proper behavior by uniting characters in the poems in spite of social divisions such as gender or social class. Economic imagery in fourteenth-century romances merits particular consideration because of Richard II's prolific expenditure, which created such turbulence that the peasants revolted in 1381. The court's openhanded spending led to social unrest, but in romances a character's largesse strengthens community bonds by showing that all members of a group participate in an idealized gift economy. Positioned within the context of economic tensions, exchange in romances can lead readers to reexamine notions of group identity. Chestre's Sir Launfal unites its community under secular principles of economic exchange and evaluation. Using similar motifs of exchange, the Gawain-poet makes Christian and chivalric ideals apparent through Gawain's service and generosity to all those who follow the Christian faith. Further, Chaucer's Franklin's Tale portrays hospitality as a tool to create pleasure, the ultimate goal of service. Although they present different types of group identity, these romances specify that generosity and commerce can illustrate the ideals of a poem's community and demonstrate to the audience model forms of behavior.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Stewart, James T.

The Lexicographer's Daughter: A Memoir

Description: This creative nonfiction dissertation is a memoir of the author's search for the somewhat mysterious hidden past of her father, the lexicographer Charles J. Lovell, who died in 1960, when the author was nine. Her father's early death left the author with many unanswered questions about his past and his family and so she undertakes a search to answer, if possible, some of those questions. Her search takes her to Portland, Maine; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Pasadena, California, where she tries to discover the facts and uncover the forces that shaped her father's life. Along the way, she realizes how profoundly his death affected and shaped her own life, contributing to the theme of loss that pervades the memoir. In addition, she begins to realize how much her mother, Dixie Hefley Lovell, whose significance she previously overlooked, shaped her life. Ultimately, she comes to understand and accept that some of her questions are unanswerable.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Lovell, Bonnie Alice

Miscegenated Narration: The Effects of Interracialism in Women's Popular Sentimental Romances from the Civil War Years

Description: Critical work on popular American women's fiction still has not reckoned adequately with the themes of interracialism present in these novels and with interracialism's bearing on the sentimental. This thesis considers an often overlooked body of women's popular sentimental fiction, published from 1860-1865, which is interested in themes of interracial romance or reproduction, in order to provide a fuller picture of the impact that the intersection of interracialism and sentimentalism has had on American identity. By examining the literary strategy of "miscegenated narration," or the heteroglossic cacophony of narrative voices and ideological viewpoints that interracialism produces in a narrative, I argue that the hegemonic ideologies of the sentimental romance are both "deterritorialized" and "reterritorialized," a conflicted impulse that characterizes both nineteenth-century sentimental, interracial romances and the broader project of critiquing the dominant national narrative that these novels undertake.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Beeler, Connie

Noctilucent

Description: This dissertation is composed of two parts. Part I discusses the evolution of meditative poetry as a genre, with a particular emphasis on the influence of women poets and feminist critical theory. Part II is a collection of poems. Although several popular and critically-acclaimed poets working today write meditative poems, meditative poetry as a genre has not been systematically examined since M.H. Abrams’s essay on the meditative mode in Romantic poetry, “Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric.” Because one of the driving forces of meditative poetry is a longing for, or recognition of, a state of perception that lies between individual being and some form of universal ordering principle, meditative poetry might seem to be antithetical to a postmodern world that is fragmentary, contingent, and performative; indeed, earlier definitions of meditative poetry, tied to historical and cultural understandings of the individual and the Universal, no longer reflect “how we know” but only “how we knew.” However, this essay argues that there is a contemporary meditative structure that allows for a continued relationship between the individual and the Universal without resorting to the essentialism implicit in the genre as traditionally described. This new structure owes much to feminist theory, in particular écriture féminine, which models a method for recovery of self in language that would seek to efface it. In order to expose the boundaries of the contemporary meditative mode, and to outline its relationship to écriture féminine, this essay analyzes meditative poems from four contemporary poets: Kay Ryan, Jorie Graham, Linda Gregerson, and Linda Bierds, and contrasts contemporary variations on the genre with earlier traditions, identifying an evolved form that better reflects a postmodern rhetoric.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Bush, Mary Gwen

Re-Envisioning an Eighteenth-Century Artifact: A Postmodern Reading of Tristram Shandy

Description: The interjection of a new and dynamically different reading of Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy is imperative, if scholars want to clearly see many of the hidden facets of the novel that have gone unexamined because of out-dated scholarship. Ian Watt’s assumption that Sterne “would probably have been the supreme figure among eighteenth-century novelists” (291) if he had not tried to be so odd, and the conclusion that he draws, that “Tristram Shandy is not so much a novel as a parody of a novel” (291), is incorrect. Throughout the thesis, I argue that Sterne was not burlesquing other novelists, but instead, was engaging with themes that are now being examined by postmodern theories of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Jean François Lyotard: themes like the impenetrability of identity (“Don’t puzzle me” (TS 7.33.633)), the insufficiency of language (“Well might Locke write a chapter upon the imperfections of words” (5.6.429)), and the unavailability of permanence (“Time wastes too fast” (9.8.754)). I actively engage with their theories to deconstruct unexamined themes inside Tristram Shandy, and illuminate postmodern elements inside the novel. However, I do not argue that Tristram Shandy is postmodern. Instead, I argue that if the reader examines the novel outside of its usual context inside the eighteenth-century novel, there are themes that are apparent in the narrative which have gone unexamined because of the way it has been classified inside academia, and that postmodernist theory allows for these themes to be re-examined in the postmodern culture in which we now reside.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Burns, Anthony Louis

Reconsidering Regionalism: The Environmental Ethics of Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, and Willa Cather

Description: This study identifies environmentalist themes in the fiction and nonfiction of Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, and Willa Cather and argues that these ideals are interdependent upon the authors’ humanistic objectives. Focusing on these three authors’ overlapping interest in topics such as women’s rights, environmental health, and Native American history, this dissertation calls attention to the presence of a frequently unexplored but distinct, traceable feminist environmental ethic in American women’s regional writing. This set of beliefs involves a critique of the threats posed by a patriarchal society to both the environment and its human inhabitants, particularly the women, and thus can be classified as proto-ecofeminist. Moreover, the authors’ shared emphasis on the benefits of local environmental knowledge and stewardship demonstrates vital characteristics of the bioregionalist perspective, a modern form of environmental activism that promotes sustainability at a local level and mutually beneficial relationships among human and nonhuman inhabitants of a naturally defined region. Thus, the study ultimately defines a particular form of women’s literary activism that emerged in the last decades of the nineteenth century and argues for these authors’ continued theoretical relevance to a twenty-first-century audience increasingly invested in understanding and resolving a global environmental predicament.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Clasen, Kelly

Relativity In Transylvania And Patusan: Finding The Roots Of Einstein’s Theories Of Relativity In Dracula And Lord Jim

Description: This thesis investigates the similarities in the study of time and space in literature and science during the modern period. Specifically, it focuses on the portrayal of time and space within Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim (1899-1900), and compares the ideas presented with those later scientifically formulated by Albert Einstein in his special and general theories of relativity (1905-1915). Although both novels precede Einstein’s theories, they reveal advanced complex ideas of time and space very similar to those later argued by the iconic physicist. These ideas follow a linear progression including a sense of temporal dissonance, the search for a communal sense of the present, the awareness and expansion of the individual’s sense of the present, and the effect of mass on surrounding space. This approach enhances readings of Dracula and Lord Jim, illuminating the fascination with highly refined notions of time and space within modern European culture.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Tatum, Brian Shane

School Governance and Student Achievement: Revealing Factors Beyond the McCarty-Ramsey Model

Description: The purpose of this study was to identify and investigate the specific superintendent leadership type and underlying factors that support significant student achievement gains in communities where misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model exists. Utilizing a mixedmethod research strategy, contributing school districts were identified through a survey developed by McCarty and Ramsey. This survey indicated that districts could show positive student achievement gains while exhibiting misalignment among these factors. While all four types of superintendent leadership style were revealed in the survey, a prevalent superintendent leadership types was associated with the misaligned districts showing significant academic growth. This study indicated the professional advisor or the professional advisor/decision maker superintendent had the greatest achievement results in misaligned districts. The second investigation phase involved school districts that met two criteria: misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model, and three years of significant student achievement gains, as measured by the California Academic Performance Indicator. Interviews were conducted with identified school board presidents and superintendents to reveal practices or initiatives promoting these results. The interview protocol consisted of a series of open-ended questions regarding effective leadership and programs. The second finding revealed the effective superintendent focuses efforts on five specific district leadership actions identified by researchers such as Waters and Marzano. More specifically, this study revealed two practices were present in top performing school districts. First, a narrow focus on non-negotiable instructional practices across the district, and frequent monitoring by the superintendent, site and district leadership teams including follow - up debriefings regarding implementation of district expectations. These findings have significance in districts dealing with challenges among the community power structures, board types or superintendent leadership. This research shows that regardless of the political challenges, budgetary issues, or relationship chaos that might exist in the district and community, the professional advisor superintendent who has established clear district ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Kemp, Stella Maria

Unmaking Progress: Individual and Social Teleology in Victorian Children's Fiction

Description: This study contrasts four distinct discursive responses to (or even accidental remarks on) the Victorian concept of individual and/or social improvement, or progress, set forth by the preeminent social critics, writers, scientists, and historians of the nineteenth century, such as Thomas Carlyle, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Macaulay Matthew Arnold, Charles Darwin, and Herbert Spencer. This teleological ideal, perhaps the most prevalent ideology of the long nineteenth century, originates with the Protestant Christian ethic during and in the years following the Reformation, whereupon it combines with the Enlightenment notions of rational humanity's boundless potential and Romanticism's fierce individualism to create the Victorian doctrine of progress. My contention remains throughout that four nineteenth-century writers for children and adults subvert the doctrine of individual progress (which contributes to the progress of the race) by chipping away at its metaphysical and narratalogical roots. George MacDonald allows progress only on the condition of total selflessness, including the complete dissolution of one's free will, but defers the hallmarks of making progress indefinitely, due to his apocalyptic Christian vision. Lewis Carroll ridicules the notion of progress by playing with our conceptions of linear time and simple causality, implying as he writes that perhaps there is nothing to progress toward, no actual telos on which to fix our sights. Oscar Wilde characterizes moral development as nothing short of self-inflicted cruelty, consigning his most scrupulously moral-minded characters to social subversion or untimely death (the dark reflection of MacDonald's compulsory selflessness). And finally, Rudyard Kipling toys with historical substitutes for conventional progress, such as repetitive cycles, deviating from historical unidirectionality and linear development. He often realigns his characters with their intractable fates at the conclusions of his narratives, echoing Carroll's suggestion that perhaps our goals are delusional. I conclude that while each individual author fails to holistically undermine the doctrine ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Jones, Justin T.