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Functional Shift in English
The purpose of this study will be to make an investigation of the shifting of a word from one part of speech to another, to see whether this linguistic process existed in Old English, Middle English, and to note the prevalence of functional shift among present-day writers.
Important Influences on Newman's Faith
This study is designed primarily to show the important influences which shaped John Henry Newman's religious beliefs and his ultimate conversion to the Roman Catholic Church.
The Use of Character Portrayal in the Short Poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson
This thesis is a study of Robinson's general mental and philosophical development and the forces which contributed to it, the kinds and sources of Robinson's characters and the method and importance of their portrayal, Robinson's single portraits of men, Robinson's portrayal of women characters, Robinson's historical portraits, and the relationship of the short poems to Robinson's total work.
Walt Whitman's Influence Abroad
This paper is a study of Walt Whitman's influence in England, Northern European countries, Southern Europe, Latin America, and other countries.
An Appraisal of some Moot Issues in English Grammar
This thesis discusses traditional and liberal views on certain English expressions by examining them as they are discussed in traditional school grammars, in descriptive grammars, and in current magazine articles and as they are used in the best writing of today.
"Positive" and "Negative" Characters in Joseph Conrad's Fiction
This thesis is an attempt to understand Joseph Conrad's own concept of the "moral law"; what is meant by the terms "positive" and "negative," often used to describe the forces so obviously influencing his characters; and the characters, the action, and the endings as proofs of Conrad's belief in such a law and such forces.
Eugene O'Neill's Theory and Practice of Tragedy
This thesis discusses six plays by the playwright Eugene O'Neill considered as tragedies.
Character Studies in John Steinbeck's Fiction
This thesis is a study of the characters in John Steinbeck's fiction.
Social and Political Conservatism in Joseph Conrad's Fiction
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the evidences of Conrad's conservative tastes and beliefs as indicated by his way of life and his associations, and to show, further, that this conservatism is revealed directly and indirectly in his stories and novels.
Shaw's Economic Theories as Found in His Plays
This paper contains, somewhat in detail, Shaw's ideas of the economic relations of man, as they are stated in his political writings and upheld in his plays.
Ours is the Kingdom of Heaven: Racial Construction of Early American Christian Identities
This project interrogates how religious performance, either authentic or contrived, aids in the quest for freedom for oppressed peoples; how the rhetoric of the Enlightenment era pervades literatures delivered or written by Native Americans and African Americans; and how religious modes, such as evoking scripture, performing sacrifices, or relying upon providence, assist oppressed populations in their roles as early American authors and speakers. Even though the African American and Native American populations of early America before the eighteenth century were denied access to rights and freedom, they learned to manipulate these imposed constraints--renouncing the expectation that they should be subordinate and silent--to assert their independent bodies, voices, and spiritual identities through the use of literary expression. These performative strategies, such as self-fashioning, commanding language, destabilizing republican rhetoric, or revising narrative forms, become the tools used to present three significant strands of identity: the individual person, the racialized person, and the spiritual person. As each author resists the imposed restrictions of early American ideology and the resulting expectation of inferior behavior, he/she displays abilities within literature (oral and written forms) denied him/her by the political systems of the early republican and early national eras. Specifically, they each represent themselves in three ways: first, as a unique individual with differentiated abilities, exceptionalities, and personality; second, as a person with distinct value, regardless of skin color, cultural difference, or gender; and third, as a sanctified and redeemed Christian, guaranteed agency and inheritance through the family of God. Furthermore, the use of religion and spirituality allows these authors the opportunity to function as active agents who were adapting specific verbal and physical methods of self-fashioning through particular literary strategies. Doing so demonstrates that they were not the unrefined and unfeeling individuals that early American political and social restrictions had made them--that instead they were ...
With the Earth in Mind: Ecological Grief in the Contemporary American Novel
"With the Earth in Mind" responds to some of the most cutting-edge research in the field of ecocriticism, which centers on ecological loss and the grief that ensues. Ecocritics argue that ecological objects of loss abound--for instance, species are disappearing and landscapes are becoming increasingly compromised--and yet, such loss is often deemed "ungrievable." While humans regularly grieve human losses, we understand very little about how to genuinely grieve the loss of nonhuman being, natural environments, and ecological processes. My dissertation calls attention to our society's tendency to participate in superficial nature-nostalgia, rather than active and engaged environmental mourning, and ultimately activism. Herein, I investigate how an array of postwar and contemporary American novels represent a complex relationship between environmental degradation and mental illness. Literature, I suggest, is crucial to investigations of this problem because it can reveal the human consequences of ecological loss in a way that is unavailable to political, philosophical, scientific, and even psychological discourse.
"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.
Monsters Like Us: Reexamining “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” Through the Decades
The purpose of this paper is to examine the multiple versions of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" in concert and determine the reason for their continued presence in the American cultural landscape. To do so I will look at the novel and four films and examine the context in which they were created. In reexamining the novel and films, a central theme begins to emerge: interiority. Fear in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" moves from an external to an internal threat. The bodily locus of the monstrous other has been re-purposed and re-projected outward. The internal nature of the monstrous threat is displayed in the narrative’s use of production and distribution, mental health professionals, pseudo-families, and the vilification of sleep. Finally, this paper will examine the studio influence on the various films and their impact on the relative endings.
Welcome to the Rest of It
This creative nonfiction dissertation is a book of essays that explore the author's life and relationship to Upstate New York. The project also connects this experience to gender and trauma. Though the topics range from local history to cosmetic surgical procedures, the essays are collected by how they illuminate cultural tensions and universal truths. These essays are preceded by a critical preface that examines the differences between essays collections, books of essays, and argues for the recognition of narrative nonfiction as an artistic choice.
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.
"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.
"Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining"
A collection of poems that are history- and place-infused lyrical songs that that sounds the landscapes and distances of the South, with a critical preface that explores erotic encounters with the divine.
The Spinning Place
"The Spinning Place" finds its impetus in the intersection of the spiritual and material, and while often dwelling in a domestic milieu, the poems move outward both figuratively and literally. For instance, one poem re-narrates the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, several poems are about divination by various means (frogs, animal behavior), and another performs an erasure of the last supper so that it instead tells a woman's experience in a delivery room. I borrow the title of the collection from a stanza of Dylan Thomas's poem "Fern Hill," and the excerpt (which will become an epigraph to the book) reads: "So it must have been after the birth of the simple light / In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm / Out of the whinnying green stable / On to the fields of praise." Thomas refers to the newly created earth as the "spinning place," imagining the fleeting idyll and harmony of that scene. In a similar way, my new poems specifically explore moments of creation, birth, and discovery, drawing from a variety of inspirations, including recognizable narratives and myths, as well as personal experience.
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.
"This Fundamental Lack": Stories
This short story collection includes five original works of fiction, three of which make up a trilogy titled "The World Drops Beneath You," which follows the life of James McClellan from 1969 in Texas until roughly 2009, when he is struggling to care for his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. One of the two remaining stories, "She Loved Him When He Looked Like Elvis," prominently features James McClellan's parents and is set approximately eight years before the start of the trilogy. Each of the stories is concerned with blue-collar families trying to make their way in postindustrial America and the forces that buffet them, including some brought on by the choices they make.
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.
Wake
Preface: A consideration of the New Sincerity movement in contemporary American poetics in the work of Tao Lin, Matt Hart, and Dorothea Lasky. Creative work: A three section book of poetry exploring elegy, form, and the intersection of strangeness and domesticity.
The Palestinian Archipelago and the Construction of Palestinian Identity After Sixty-five Years of Diaspora: the Rebirth of the Nation
This dissertation conceptualizes a Palestinian archipelago based on Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the chronotope, and uses the archipelago model to illustrate the situation and development of Palestinian consciousness in diaspora. To gain insight into the personal lives of Palestinians in diaspora, This project highlights several islands of Palestinian identities as represented in the novels: Dancing Arabs, A Compass for the Sunflower, and The Inheritance. The identities of the characters in these works are organized according to the archipelago model, which illustrates how the characters rediscover, repress, or change their identities in order to accommodate life in diaspora. Analysis reveals that a major goal of Palestinian existence in diaspora is the maintenance of an authentic Palestinian identity. Therefore, my description of the characters’ identities and locations in the archipelago model are informed by various scholars and theories of nationalism. Moreover, this dissertation illustrates how different Palestinian identities coalesce into a single national consciousness that has been created and sustained by a collective experience of suffering and thirst for sense of belonging and community among Palestinians. Foremost in the memories of all Palestinians is the memory of the land of Palestine and the dream of national restoration; these are the main uniting factors between Palestinians revealed in my analysis. Furthermore, this project presents an argument that developing a Palestinian exceptionalism as both a response and a solution to the problems Palestine faced in the 20th century has already occurred among diasporic Palestinians as well as those settled in the West Bank. In addition, a significant finding of this dissertation is the generation clash in regarding to the methods of modernization of the West Bank society between the settled Palestinian and those returning from diaspora. Nevertheless, a Palestinian homecoming will require a renegotiation of Palestinian identities in which generation gaps and other disagreements ...
Marvels of the Invisible
This dissertation is comprised of a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface considers the consumed animal body as a metaphor in contemporary American poetry, specifically in the works of Galway Kinnell, Li Young Lee, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. The consumption of the mute creature allows the poet to identify the human self in the animal other, and serves as a metaphor for our continuity with the natural world. I revise Owen Barfield’s notion of “original participation,” positing that through imaginative participation, the poet and the reader can identify the animal within the self, and thus approach a fuller understanding of both the self and the outside world. We identify the animal other within the human self, and in of this act of relating, we are able to temporarily transgress the boundaries of the individual self to create art that expresses continuity with the outside world. This argument brings about a discussion of text as an act of consumption, and the way and which this can symbolize the ways in which the self is altered through the act of reading. The book-length collection of poems, entitled Marvels of the Invisible, won Tupelo Press’s 2014 Berkshire prize for a first or second book of poetry. The poems look to sources like 17th and 18th century scientific letters, modern and contemporary art, and recent studies in biological phenomena in order to parse the intersection between personal experience and the outside world. The title of the collection points to the conceptual interests of the book: through the lens of scientific phenomena, memory, and personal history, one begins to see that what seems very small (the ant under a microscope, a Russian nesting doll, two people on horseback) are, in fact, individual offerings that articulate one’s place in the cosmos. The ...
Vanishing Act
This dissertation is comprised of a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface reconsiders the value of discontinuous poetic forms and advocates a return to lyric as an antidote to the toxic aspects of what Tony Hoagland terms “the skittery poem of our moment.” I consider poems by Wendy Xu, Kevin Prufer, Sharon Olds, and Stephen Dunn in depth to facilitate a discussion about the value of a more centrist position between the poles of supreme discontinuity and totalizing continuity. Though poets working in discontinuous forms are rightly skeptical of the hierarchies that govern narrative and linear forms, as Czesław Miłosz notes in The Witness of Poetry, “a poet discovers a secret, namely that he can be faithful to real things only by arranging them hierarchically.” In my own poems, I make use of the hierarchies of ordered perception in lyric and narrative forms to faithfully illuminate the collapsed structures of my own family history in the shadow of Detroit. I practice the principles I advocate in the preface, using a continuous form to address fractured realities in a busy, disordered age when poets often seek forms as fragmented as their perceptions. These poems are distinctly American, but because there is no true royalty in America, our great cultural and economic institutions—television, music, film, magazines, and big business—take the place of the castle (the book’s emblem) while Michael Jackson ultimately rises as the commanding dead king whose passing prompts contemplation of the viability of popular culture, family, history, and geography. The fallen structures that litter the work are many: the twin towers, chess rooks, bounce castles, nuclear families, the auto industry. However, the sole structure cohering the whole is that of a lyric voice whose authority is derived through lived experience and presented in rich, continuous poetic ...
Through an Open Window
The poems in this collection are elegiac; celebrations of losses and failures, tributes to the daily doldrums that are at the center of human experience. They threaten to expose the uncertainty that exists and refuses to exist in our everyday lives. They explore the otherness associated with the individual and often turn to the universal formulas of music and physics to make order of the world around them. Often times the Speaker finds that the seeming chaos manifests within her already orderly life, the daily routines of work and family. Poetic magic, so to speak, weds this ordered chaos to the laws of nature and its routines, especially birds, which makes a recurrent appearance throughout the manuscript.
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.
Searching for a Savior
This collection of essays includes a preference that investigates the role and importance of setting and character in a nonfiction narrative. The preface assesses the writings of four great authors, examining how each author use setting and characterization to further the purpose of their story. This collection focuses on four different issues that the author has wrestled with for two decades. While “Desperado” is an investigation into the problems within her own family, “Being Black Me” highlights the authors struggle against the racial inequality her hometown. “Voices In The Dark”, the author analyze how the abuse she suffered as a child has influenced her life and contributed to a drinking problem that is explored in a later essay “Alors On Danse”.
Down and Out: a Novel
A creative dissertation consisting of two parts: a novel and a critical preface. The critical preface, titled “Novel without Falsehood” deals directly with David Shields’s Reality Hunger, touching on issues of reality as it pertains to truth, writing, fiction, and contemporary culture. The novel is entitled Down and Out and follows the fortunes of a small town in Arkansas before, during, and after its sole source of employment ceases to exist.
"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.
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.
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.
Prison Notes: an Introductory Study of Inmate Marginalia
This thesis introduces the study of inmate marginalia as a method for understanding inmates’ uses of texts in prison libraries and for understanding the motivations for these uses. Marginalia are the notes, drawings, underlining, and other markings left by readers in the texts with which they interact. I use the examples of the Talmudic projects to set a precedent for the integration of marginal discourses into the central discourse of society. Next, I discuss the arguments surrounding the use of texts in prison libraries, including an outline for an ideal study of inmate marginalia. Finally, I discuss the findings of my on-site research at four prison libraries in Washington State. After scanning evidence of marginalia from forty-eight texts, a relatively small sample, I divided the marginalia by gender of facility, genre of text, address of the marginalia, and type of marginalia and found statistically significant correlations (p < 0.05) between gender and genre, gender and address, gender and type, and genre and type. However, while these correlations are statistically weak and require further investigation, the statistically significant correlations indicate the potential for integrating inmate marginalia studies into the scholarly discussions regarding inmates’ interactions with texts in prison.
Nym (A Novel)
This dissertation consists of a literary novel. A preface deals with issue of introducing philosophical ideas into fictional works, with special emphasis on the techniques of ambiguity and destabilization of reality, as deployed in the novel.
'My Tattooed Mind'
This thesis features a collection of nonfiction essays.
Laws of Inheritance
This thesis is a collection of poems that meditates on the legacies we inherit and the legacies we leave behind.
“Civilizations without Boats”: Stories
This collection consists of a critical preface and nine short stories. Extrapolating from the work and legacy of Michel Foucault, the preface theorizes a genre of “heterotopian fiction” as constitutive of a fundamentally ethical approach to narrative creativity, distinguishing its functional and methodological characteristics from works that privilege aesthetic, thematic, or technical artistry. The stories explore spaces of madness, alterity, incomprehensibility, and liminal experience. Collection includes the stories “Mexico,” “Civilizations without Boats,” The Widow’s Mother,” “Guys Like Us,” “Everything You’d Hoped It Would Be,” “A Concerned Friend,” “Crisis Hotline,” “Coast to Coast,” and “The Ghosts of Rich Men.”
A Boy in a Canoe
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.
“No Paper Cowboys”: Stories
Equilibrium is paramount in the crafting of a story, and for every writer this sense of balance is different. The writer must manage a balance of showing and telling, of denotation and connotation, and forever strive to find the perfect word in both the denotative and connotative sense, so that the reader and writer can meeting in a living story—both in the ink on the page and the remaining white space.
Teleport
This collection consists of a critical preface exploring the similarities between serialized comic books, realist fiction and the author’s own writing. The principle discussion concerns continuity, the connecting tissue between ancillary works of fiction, chronology, the function of time in the narrative of related stories, and the function of characters beyond the stories they inhabit. The stories within the collection revolve around an eccentric ensemble of suburban youth whose demoralized and violent actions are heavily influenced by defining moments of their past.
Unclean Slates: Stories
Unclean Slates: Stories is a collection of seven short stories that comments on the nature of family ties, and how such ties help form a sense of identity. Each story focuses on a separate protagonist, all of whom strive for a new beginning or an escape from some aspect of their current lives. The short story cycle of this collection is held together not by place or characters, but ultimately by the theme of wishing for a new beginning: they share a desire to fix some dissatisfying element of their lives. Mostly from the point of view of blue-collar characters leading mundane middle-class lives, these stories provide commentary on what it means to run from the conditions that make up one's sense of identity. Most of the revelations formed throughout these stories lead to a sense of acceptance of these conditions, and an understanding that family and history make up part of human consciousness. While the specific locations presented in these stories are not necessarily the same, each story seeks to focus on a location that proves to be fundamental to the makeup of the protagonist. The cities and geographic locations themselves are not as important as the specifics: the schools, diners, lakes, and so forth where these characters find themselves contemplating their disillusionment about where their lives have brought them. Facing everything from postpartum depression to simply missing out on a career opportunity, these characters all experience a sense of loss that brings them together in a way that is recognizable to the reader as the collection progresses.
(Some More) American Literature
This short story collection consists of twenty short fictions and a novella. A preface precedes the collection addressing issues of craft, pedagogy, and the post Program Era literary landscape, with particular attention paid to the need for empathy as an active guiding principle in the writing of fiction.
"Refugees" and Others
Refugees, a novel in progress, begins in the collective first-person with a group of people who live on the same residential street of middle-class homes in an east coast American city and are experiencing the most exquisitely vivid aurora borealis to appear in recorded history. But they quickly learn that this gorgeous wonder is a harbinger of civilization's demise and possibly the end of all life on the planet, because the solar storms causing the sky's fantastic nightly coloring is also slowly stripping away the atmosphere and leeching oxygen into space. This "we" narrative switches to third person, moving between two characters—Julie and Amira—as the narrative moves forward. The first chapter covers the first few months of this apocalyptic crisis, and Julie and Amira are central as they are forced decide if they still have the strength and the will to even attempt survival in these new and brutal circumstances. The second chapter, also told in third person, picks up seventeen years in the future with Aya, Amira's daughter who was six during the initial atmospheric disaster. A small group survived in an underwater refuge, recently discovered the atmosphere above had healed over time, and sent an excursion group, including Aya, to evaluate the changing environment. This chapter reveals the history and particular struggles of these characters living in this complex society, both residual and nascent. The third chapter returns to the group of neighbors—including Julie and Amira—seventeen years prior, immediately following the catastrophic event as their story continues to unfold. This chapter opens, like the first chapter, in the "we" voice, tracing the movement of the group south in a search for help and a desperate, though orderly, effort toward survival. This next phase of their journey introduces fresh conflicts and new characters and points to approaching challenges and ...
What Do You Do? A Memoir in Essays
These personal essays present a twenty-something's evolving attitudes toward her occupations. Each essay explores a different job-from birthday party clown, to seitan-maker, to psychiatric den mother-while circling around sub-themes of addiction, disability, sex, love, nature, and nourishment (both food and otherwise). Through landscape, extended metaphor and symbol, and recurring characters, the collection addresses how a person's work often defines how she sees the world. Each of the narrator's jobs thrusts her into networks of people and places that both helps and impedes the process of self-discovery. As a whole, the essay collection functions as a memoir, tracking an often-universal journey, one that many undertake in order to discover a meaningful life, and sometimes, eventually, a career.
The Laureates’ Lens: Exposing the Development of Literary History and Literary Criticism From Beneath the Dunce Cap
In this project, I examine the impact of early literary criticism, early literary history, and the history of knowledge on the perception of the laureateship as it was formulated at specific moments in the eighteenth century. Instead of accepting the assessments of Pope and Johnson, I reconstruct the contemporary impact of laureate writings and the writing that fashioned the view of the laureates we have inherited. I use an array of primary documents (from letters and journal entries to poems and non-fiction prose) to analyze the way the laureateship as a literary identity was constructed in several key moments: the debate over hack literature in the pamphlet wars surrounding Elkanah Settle’s The Empress of Morocco (1673), the defense of Colley Cibber and his subsequent attempt to use his expertise of theater in An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740), the consolidation of hack literature and state-sponsored poetry with the crowning of Colley Cibber as the King of the Dunces in Pope’s The Dunciad in Four Books (1742), the fashioning of Thomas Gray and William Mason as laureate rejecters in Mason’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of William Whitehead (1788), Southey’s progressive work to abolish laureate task writing in his laureate odes 1813-1821, and, finally, in Wordsworth’s refusal to produce any laureate task writing during his tenure, 1843-1850. In each case, I explain how the construction of this office was central to the consolidation of literary history and to forging authorial identity in the same period. This differs from the conventional treatment of the laureates because I expose the history of the versions of literary history that have to date structured how scholars understand the laureate, and by doing so, reveal how the laureateship was used to create, legitimate and disseminate the model of literary history we still ...
“Wolf Man”
This creative nonfiction dissertation is a memoir that probes the complex life and death of the author’s father, who became addicted in his late forties to crack cocaine. While the primary concerns are the reasons and ways in which the father changed from a family man into a drug addict, the memoir is also concerned with themes of family life, childhood, and grief. After his father’s death, the author moves to Las Vegas and experiences similar addiction issues, which he then explores to help shed light on his father’s problems. To enrich the investigation, the author draws from eclectic sources, including news articles, literature, mythology, sociology, religion, music, TV, interviews, and inherited objects from his father. In dissecting the life of his father, the author simultaneously examines broader issues surrounding modern fatherhood, such as cultural expectations, as well as the problems of emptiness, isolation, and spiritual deficiency.
Opening Day
Although I've read and written poetry for my own pleasure for about twenty years now, I've only seriously studied and written poetry on a consistent basis for the past two years. In this sense, I still consider myself a beginning poet. When attempting to pursue an art form as refined and historically informed as poetry, only after spending a number of years reading and writing intensively would I no longer consider myself a beginner, but a practitioner of the art. I've grounded my early development as a poet in concision, voice, and imagination, and hope to build upon these ideas with other poetic techniques, theories, and forms as I go forward. I am particularly interested in mastering the sonnet form, a concise and imaginative form that will allow me to further develop my skills. Hopefully, the works in this thesis reflect that effort.
Shared Spaces: The Human and the Animal in the Works of Zora Neale Hurston, Mark Twain, and Jack London
Living in tune with nature means respecting the natural environment and realizing its power and the ways it manifests in daily life. This essay focuses on the ways in which respect for nature is expressed through animal imagery in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Mark Twain's "The Stolen White Elephant," Roughing It, and Pudd'nhead Wilson, and Jack London's The Call of the Wild. Each author encouraged readers to seek the benefits of nature in order to become better human beings, forge stronger communities, and develop a more unified nation and world. By learning from the positive example of the animals, we learn how to share our world with them and with each other.
Re-Envisioning an Eighteenth-Century Artifact: A Postmodern Reading of Tristram Shandy
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.