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Working Whiteness: Performing And Transgressing Cultural Identity Through Work

Description: Early in Richard Wright's Native Son, we see Bigger and his friend Gus “playing white.” Taking on the role of “J. P. Morgan,” the two young black men give orders and act powerful, thus performing their perceived role of whiteness. This scene is more than an ironic comment on the characters' distance from the lifestyle of the J. P. Morgans of the world; their acts of whiteness are a representation of how whiteness is constructed. Such an analysis is similar to my own focus in this dissertation. I argue that whiteness is a culturally constructed identity and that work serves as a performative space for defining and transgressing whiteness. To this end, I examine work and its influence on the performance of middle class and working class whiteness, as well as how those outside the definitions of whiteness attempt to “play white,” as Bigger does. Work enables me to explore the codes of whiteness and how they are performed, understood, and transgressed by providing a locus of cultural performance. Furthermore, by looking at novels written in the early twentieth century, I am able to analyze characters at a historical moment in which work was of great import. With the labor movement at its peak, these novels, particularly those which specifically address socialism, participate in an understanding of work as a performative act more than a means to end. Within the context of this history and using the language of whiteness studies, I look at how gendered whiteness is transgressed and reinforced through the inverted job-roles of the Knapps in Dorothy Canfield's The Home-Maker, how work can cause those who possess the physical attributes of whiteness to transgress this cultural identity, as the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath demonstrate, and how the ascribed identities as non-white for Sara in The ...
Date: May 2002
Creator: Polizzi, Allessandria
Partner: UNT Libraries

How to Factor Loss

Description: 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.
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Date: May 2002
Creator: Hall, Todd R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Blackland Prairie

Description: Blackland Prairie contains a scholarly preface, “Cross Timbers,” that discusses the emerging role of place as a narrative agent in contemporary fiction. The preface is followed by six original short stories. “Parts” depicts the growth of a boy's power over his family. “A Movie House to Make Us All Rich” involves the sacrifice of familial values by the son of Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. “The Place on Chenango Street” is about a man who views his world in monetary terms. “The Nine Ideas For A Happier Whole” explores the self-help industry and personal guru age. “All The Stupid Things I Said” is about a long-separated couple meeting for very different reasons. “Flooded Timber” concerns a couple who discover hidden reasons for their relationship's longevity.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Magliocco, Amos
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reflections of Other/Reflections of Self

Description: This Thesis collection contains a critical preface and five stories. The preface, “Reflejos y Reflexiones” (translated: Images and Thoughts), addresses the issues of writing the cultural or gendered Other; these issues include methodology, literary colonialism, a dialogue between works, and creating distance through defamiliarizing the self. “Perennials” is the story of Noemi Tellez, an immigrant to the U.S. who must choose between working and taking care of her family. In “Load Bearing” Luis, the eldest child, faces his family and friends on one of his last days before moving away to college. “La Monarca” deals with Lily's, the youngest daughter, struggle to mediate a place between her friends and her family. In “Reflections in the River,” Arabela, the second youngest, faces the ghost of an unwanted pregnancy and La Llorona. “La Cocina de Su Madre” is the story of Magda, the oldest daughter, and her own teenage girl, Natalia, as they attempt to find themselves in a new town after moving a thousand miles from home.
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Date: August 2002
Creator: Bebout, Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries

The things I left behind

Description: This thesis consists of a preface and twenty-one original short stories. The preface examines the differences between creative nonfiction, autobiography, and memoir. The twenty-one interrelated stories included are autobiographical in nature, in some ways memoirs and in some ways creative nonfiction. The over-all theme of the collection explores one character's journey of self-discovery and transformation.
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Date: August 2002
Creator: Keyes, Laura
Partner: UNT Libraries

Private Affections: Miscegenation and the Literary Imagination in Israel-Palestine

Description: This study politicizes the mixed relationship in Israeli-Palestinian literature. I examine Arab-Jewish and interethnic Jewish intimacy in works by Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish, canonical Israeli novelist A. B. Yehoshua, select anthologized Anglophone and translated Palestinian and Israeli poetry, and Israeli feminist writer Orly Castel-Bloom. I also examine the material cultural discourses issuing from Israel’s textile industry, in which Arabs and Jews interact. Drawing from the methodology of twentieth-century Brazilian miscegenation theorist Gilberto Freyre, I argue that mixed intimacies in the Israeli-Palestinian imaginary represent a desire to restructure a hegemonic public sphere in the same way Freyre’s Brazilian mestizo was meant to rhetorically undermine what he deemed a Western cult of uniformity. This project constitutes a threefold contribution. I offer one of the few postcolonial perspectives on Israeli literature, as it remains underrepresented in the field in comparison to its Palestinian counterparts. I also present the first sustained critique of the hetero relationship and the figure of the hybrid in Israeli-Palestinian literature, especially as I focus on its representation for political options rather than its aesthetic intrigue. Finally, I reexamine and apply Gilberto Freyre in a way that excavates him from critical interment and advocates for his global relevance.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Cohen, Hella Bloom
Partner: UNT Libraries

Metaphor and the ESL Classroom

Description: This paper concentrates on the viability of using metaphor as a teaching tool in the English as a Second Language classroom. In doing so, a semantically-based theory of metaphor, like that presented by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), is employed as a base for the examination. Such a theory of metaphor presents a dramatic shift from theories, especially Aristotle's, of the past. The theory of metaphor proposed by Lakoff and Johnson contends that language is essentially metaphorical and that much of our 'commonsense' knowledge about the world is derived from interpretations of reality and is manifested in metaphors central to a culture and its language. If this theory is true, then it stands to reason that a student attempting to learn English as a Second Language could profit greatly from metaphor instruction because such instruction would aid all areas of the language acquisition process.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Bishop, Ryan M. (Ryan Marion)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Paralysis As “Spiritual Liberation” in Joyce’s Dubliners

Description: In James Joyce criticism, and by implication Irish and modernist studies, the word paralysis has a very insular meaning. The word famously appears in the opening page of Dubliners, in “The Sisters,” which predated the collection’s 1914 publication by ten years, and in a letter to his publisher Grant Richards. The commonplace conception of the word is that it is a metaphor that emanates from the literal fact of the Reverend James Flynn’s physical condition the narrator recalls at the beginning of “The Sisters.” As a metaphor, paralysis has signified two immaterial, or spiritual, states: one individual or psychological and the other collective or social. The assumption is that as a collective and individual signifier, paralysis is the thing from which Ireland needs to be freed. Rather than relying on this received tradition of interpretation and assumptions about the term, I consider that paralysis is a two-sided term. I argue that paralysis is a problem and a solution and that sometimes what appears to be an escape from paralysis merely reinforces its negative manifestation. Paralysis cannot be avoided. Rather, it is something that should be engaged and used to redefine individual and social states.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Heister, Iven Lucas
Partner: UNT Libraries

“Werewolves and Time Machines”

Description: This collection consists of a critical preface and five short stories. The preface considers the use of the fantastical in fiction and how it works as a tool to reach readers in comparison with realistic fiction. The stories investigate this in by following several strange characters put in everyday human situations.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Edwards, Frisco
Partner: UNT Libraries

Fade Away: A Novel

Description: The struggle for survival of an American family revolves around Mitch Wilcox, a relief pitcher for a fictional major league baseball team. Nearing the end of his long career, he must decide whether to retire or to sign a new contract. His dilemma centers on his wife, Nicole, who argues for his retirement; and his only child, Twylight, who has run away from home. The novel traces the final two weeks of a season, during which Mitch's team battles for a pennant and he delays his decision because of events that expose the precarious nature of both his professional and personal identities. During a crucial game, his journey culminates with a choice that directs him toward a new life.
Date: May 1993
Creator: Wilson, Steven L. (Steven Lawrence)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Outer Edges of the Middle Kingdom

Description: Outer Edges of the Middle Kingdom is a narrative by the author about his two years as a teacher in the People's Republic of China. Organized chronologically, the account begins in August, 1985, and ends in June, 1987. The narrator describes meeting students at Tianjin University, Tianjin, China, designing English classes for English majors, daily episodes in the classroom, and interaction with Chinese colleagues. The narrative alternates between life on a university campus and extensive trips the narrator made to various cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Kunming, Guilin, Harbin, Hohot, and Guangzhou. Also recounted are the narrator's reactions to the student demonstrations of December, 1986, and the resulting anti-bourgeois liberation campaign of January-April, 1987.
Date: December 1987
Creator: Lilly, Charles N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

If I Could Live Next Door for a Day

Description: If I Could Live Next Door for a Day is a collection of short stories with the recurrent theme of taking life for granted. "Climbing the Fence" is a story about a sexually unfulfilled woman who has an unfulfilling affair. In "Chained Melody" a condescending young man learns about life in and out of jail. "An Educated Man" shows the inferiority of one man in the presence of others he considers more important. A deluded school counselor brings a jealous boy and his younger brother together in "Piggie and Pete," while another young man in "The Good Boy" tries to break away from his mother. Finally, a woman learns about herself and the world around her when she wins a large sum of money in "What About Ten-Fold?"
Date: May 1993
Creator: Yoke, Tad M. (Tad Mitchell)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Fairy Tale Elements in Margaret Atwood's Novels: Breaking the Magic Spell

Description: This thesis traces Margaret Atwood's uses of three major elements of fairy tales in her novels. Atwood creates a passive, fairy-tale-like heroine, but not for the purpose of showing how passivity wins the prince as in the traditional tale. Atwood also uses the binary system, which provides a moralistic structure in the fairy tale, to show the necessity of moving beyond its rigidity. In addition, Atwood's novels focus on transformation as the breaking of a spell. However, the spell to be broken arises out of the fairy tales themselves, which create unrealistic expectations. Thus, Atwood not only presents these fairy tale elements in a new setting, but she also changes their significance.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Peterson, Nancy J. (Nancy Jean)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Underground Men: Alternative Masculinities and the Politics of Performance in African American Literature and Culture

Description: This study explores intersections between performance, race and masculinity within a variety of expressive cultural contexts during and after the African American Civil Rights Movement. I maintain that the work of James Baldwin is best situated to help us navigate this cross section, as his fiction and cultural criticism focus heavily on the stage in all its incarnations as a space for negotiating the possibilities and limits of expressive culture in combating harmful racial narratives imposed upon black men in America. My thesis begins with a close reading of the performers populating his story collection Going to Meet the Man (1965) before broadening my scope in the following chapters to include analyses of the diametric masculinities in the world of professional boxing and the black roots of the American punk movement. Engaging with theorists like Judith Butler, bell hooks and Paul Gilroy, Underground Men attempts to put these seemingly disparate corners of American life into a dynamic conversation that broadens our understanding through a novel application of critical race, gender and performance theories. Baldwin and his orbiting criticism remain the hub of my investigation throughout, and I use his template of black genius performance outlined in works like Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone (1967) and Just Above My Head (1977) to aid our understanding of how performance prescribes and scrambles dominant narratives about black men after the sexual revolution.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Gray, Jezy J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Fools for Christ": An Examination of the Ministerial Call in Three Novels by William Golding

Description: This thesis examines the ministerial call in three novels by William Golding, specifically The Spire, Darkness Visible, and Rites of Passage. The central character of each novel, a Christian minister, has a vision, or series of visions, which dominates his life. The call and vision(s) of Golding's ministers are examined in light of Jacques Ellul's The Humiliation of the Word, a work examining the differences between the word and the image. The ministerial call, in this thesis, is linked to Ellul's ideas about the word; the vision, in this thesis, is linked to Ellul's ideas of the image. As a result of following their vision(s) rather than their call, the ministers fail, and their lives end in despair and ruin.
Date: December 1987
Creator: Adcox, John Roland
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Motif of the Fairy-Tale Princess in the Novels of Shelby Hearon

Description: Shelby Hearon's eight novels--Armadillo in the Grass, The Second Dune, Hannah's House, Now and Another Time, A Prince of a Fellow, Painted Dresses, Afternoon of a Faun, and Group Therapy- -are unified by the theme of the fairy-tale princess and her quest to assert her autonomy and gain self-fulfillment while struggling with marriage, family, and the mother-daughter relationship. This study traces the development of Hearon' s feminist convictions in each of her novels by focusing on the changing quests of her heroines. This analysis of Hearon's novels attests to their lasting literary significance.
Date: May 1986
Creator: Keith, Anne Slay
Partner: UNT Libraries

Stones, Beer Cans, and Other Pieces of These Poems

Description: This collection of poetry contains a brief introduction, one half discussing Gary Snyder's ideas on poetry in his essay, "Poetry and the Primitive," the other half of the introduction examining the successive revisions of a poem of mine. The examination is not an explication, but rather a look at the technique used in composing this poem. The body of the thesis is a collection of my poetry which I have written within the last four years. The poems speak both of experience and postulation of ideas. Though they do not follow any select pattern of thought or form, there is some connection between them in their subject matter.
Date: December 1988
Creator: Taylor, James D. (James David), 1962-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bureaucratic Writing in America: A Preliminary Study Based on Lanham's Revising Business Prose

Description: In this study, I examine two writing samples using a heuristic based on Richard A. Lanham's definition of bureaucratic writing in Revising Business Prose: noun-centered, abstract, passive-voiced, dense, and vague. I apply a heuristic to bureaucratic writing to see if Lanham's definition holds and if the writing aids or hinders the information flow necessary to democracy. After analyzing the samples for nominalizations, concrete/abstract terms, active/passive verbs, clear/unclear agents, textual density, and vague text/writers' accountability, I conclude that most of Lanham's definition holds; vague writing hinders the democratic process by not being accountable; and bureaucratic writing is expensive. Writers may humanize bureaucracies by becoming accountable. A complete study requires more samples from a wider source.
Date: May 1993
Creator: Su, Donna
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship of Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe, 1588-1590: An Episode in the Development of English Prose Fiction

Description: Robert Greene began collaborating with Thomas Nashe as English prose was turning away from the style and subject matter of Lyly's Euphues (1578) and Sidney's Arcadia (1590). When Greene and Nashe came together in London, the two writers appear to have set the tone for the pamphleteers who would establish the realistic tradition that contributed to the development of the novel. Greene's Menaphon (1589) may be a satire representing his abandonment of courtly fiction. The influence of the Marprelate controversy is reflected in Greene's appeals to the pragmatic character of the emerging literate middle class. Greene's Vision (1592) appears to be Greene's affirmation of his critical philosophy at a point of stress in the authors' relationship.
Date: December 1988
Creator: Koenig, Gregory R. (Gregory Robert)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Languages in Contact: Polish and English

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the Polish language of immigrants who came to the United States during or after World War II and to test two related hypotheses: 1. Speakers of Polish use a number of lexical intrusions. 2. Lexical intrusions differ in scope depending on whether those speakers had immigrated with minimal education or they received at least 12 years of schooling prior to their immigration. The study was conducted in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in January and February of 1990. The sample consisted of 16 informants whose interviews were recorded and analyzed in terms of lexical borrowings, cultural branches, and parts of speech. Findings supported the two hypotheses.
Date: August 1990
Creator: Beauchamp, Hanna O. (Hanna Olga)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bearclaw: a Novel

Description: Written in the tradition of American political suspense thrillers such as "Fail-Safe" and "Seven Days In May," "Bearclaw" uses their idealistic and nationalistic elements to tell a story of an American President eager to lead the world's peoples in a quest to achieve man's "highest destiny," the conquest of space. Believing that this common goal will cause mankind to come together in a spirit of brotherhood, he misreads the historical purpose of the United States and, in the end, refuses to recognize the obvious truths of human frailty and ambition even though he has been victimized by them. The Introduction is a brief survey of the sociopolitical and literary forces which combined to create the American political suspense thriller and an attempt to define its place in the literary canon.
Date: May 1992
Creator: Elston, James C. (James Cary)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Salvation and Other Short Stories

Description: This is a collection of short stories written to satisfy the requirements for a Master of Arts degree. These stories are done in several different forms in an attempt to help the author discover which one suits his personal style best. The preface to these stories is an examination of how and why the author goes about the creative process. The author has examined the lives and methods of other literary figures to see what their individual inspirations were and how they worked. This preface also looks at some of the obstacles and hazards that these men and women face while they are writing.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Oznick, Stephen E. (Stephen Eugene)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Abraham Lincoln and the American Romantic Writers: Embodiment and Perpetuation of an Ideal

Description: The American Romantic writers laid a broad foundation for the historic and heroic Abraham Lincoln who has evolved as our national myth. The writers were attracted to Lincoln by his eloquent expression of the body of ideals and beliefs they shared with him, especially the ideal of individual liberty and the belief that achievement of the ideal would bring about an amelioration of the human condition. The time, place and conditions in which they lived enhanced the attraction, and Lincoln's able leadership during the Civil War strengthened their estimation of him. His martyrdom was the catalyst which enabled the Romantic writers to lay the foundation of the Lincoln myth which has made his name synonymous with individual freedom everywhere even today.
Date: December 1992
Creator: Hicks, Mary G. (Mary Geraldine)
Partner: UNT Libraries

This Sad Kingdom

Description: This Sad Kingdom is a collection of lyric, dramatic, and narrative poems that are post-modern revisions of the American Romantic impulse of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Date: August 1992
Creator: Sturgeon, Shawn (Shawn Jay)
Partner: UNT Libraries