Recent Submissions

  • Animal companionship and identity construction in the middle English "Ywain and Gawain"

    Byers, Robert E. (2011-12)
    As a relatively recent field within literary cultural studies, "animal studies" has the potential to ask sophisticated new questions about the central and privileged place of the humanist "cogito." Through an examination of the human-animal companionship found in the Middle English romance "Ywain and Gawain", this thesis aims to contribute to the project of animal studies by tracing how questions about humanity and animality both construct and deconstruct a subject's identity. In the poem, Ywain, a knight in Arthur's court, is exiled from society and befriends a lion, who travels and fights alongside him. The dynamics of their bond highlight a posthumanist identity which begins to articulate itself within Ywain. The fluid nature of the category "man" is further examined throughan analysis of Ywain's sojourn in the woods as a wild man, and the "what is a man" encounter which occurs at the beginning of the poem. Though normative society is reinstated at the end of the text, the study concludes that the added presence of the lion in court undermines humanism's inherently speciesist imagination and serves as a microcosm of one possible vision of a posthumanist society.
  • And other myths

    Kim, Edward (2011-05)
    I do not consider it my job to create meaning; that responsibility lies with the reader. I seek to point in a general direction and allow the reader to bring his/her own experiences to the poem and complete the dialogue between writer and reader. I employ this idea in And Other Myths by use of juxtaposition, by using leaps within a poem to create seams in which a reader may impart or implicate a sense of him/herself. A poem may appear simple but open itself up to complexity with further readings, this is what the poems in And Other Myths strive to do. The poems use myth and subtext/ambiguity to go outside the self and home as a way of looking back and exploring the experience of American culture, of identity. This experience is frequently explored through the scope of my family and Korean heritage, also by creating a myth of the mundane. The mythic form helps to impart a strong sense of legacy and ancestry, but through the lens of a Korean/American upbringing. The sense of the "other" in relation to identity strongly influences my work, not just in a cultural sense, but also in a human sense.
  • A vast tapestry of madness

    Burger, Hans (2011-05)
    "A Vast Tapestry of Madness" is a collection of fictional works exploring the unique conditions of life in Pacific Northwestern America of the early twenty-first century. In three stories and two novellas, it explores the consequences of economic and political upheavals, the cultural complexities of sexuality, and the filters which the media impose on thought and perception, through characters obsessed with the masks they present to the world, yet never quite able to maintain those fronts against the reader or themselves.
  • Counterhistory in the literature of Juárez

    Burger, Hans (2011-05)
    Counterhistory in the Literature of Juárez deals with three novels portraying a series of unsolved murders in the city of Juárez, Mexico, including Stella Pope Duarte's If I Die in Juárez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders, and Roberto Bolano's 2666. The author argues that each novel creates an alternate historical record of the murders, as well as conditions in the city at large, which counters the understanding of the crimes which has been imposed by hegemonic forces in the Mexican and American governments. Because of their oppositional tactics, the author terms all three novels counterhistories, a word with complex and sometimes contradictory meanings in both literary criticism and metahistorical thought. The author explores various ideas of counterhistory and documents the ways each novel fulfills a counterhistorical purpose, as well as the ways in which the unique qualities of the novelistic form empower the creation of oppositional and polemical meanings.
  • One large steppe for Russian authorship: Gogol's troika of settings

    Fleharty, Ryan; Carr, Richard; Burleson, Derick; Mamoon, Trina (2011-08)
    This exploration of Gogol's works focuses on the three major setting-related phases of his writing career: the Ukrainian beginnings, his Petersburg tales, and the provincial Russian towns that populated his final works. His choice and execution of settings is correlated to the development of a sophisticated Russian readership clamoring for a national literature, and in attempting to generate one through his works, Gogol joins the other canonical Russian authors by tackling the central problem of 19th century Russian literature: the identity and future of the Russian nation.
  • To the root: adopted memoirs of a Samoan princess in exile

    Hassel, Jody Marie (2012-12)
    "To the Root: Adopted Memoirs of Samoan Princess in Exile" traces the author's eventful search for and reunion with members of biological family in a memoir of personal essays. The author's search for her birthfather explores thematic elements of loss, abandonment, cultural identity, racial identity, and reconciliation. The memoir explores and challenges boundaries of creative nonfiction through a mosaic of extended narrative scenes and lyric personal reflection. Autobiographical scenes convey the author's family life and upbringing in Interior Alaska tracing her journey through to adulthood, when she travels to Samoa to receive a traditional rite-of-passage tattoo and familial royal title. Resisting an entirely linear retelling of accounts, impressionist reflections on yoga and Polynesian dance are connected to the author's experience of adoption. To the Root reaches a deeper understanding of self as adoptee, as daughter, as agent of lineage.
  • Playacting happiness: tragicomedy in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford

    Udden, Meryem A.; Carr, Rich; Heyne, Eric; Reilly, Terence (2020-05)
    This thesis examines tragicomedy in two 19th Century British novels, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. Both narratives have perceived happy endings; however, tragedy lies underneath the surface. With Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream as a starting point, playacting becomes the vehicle through which tragedy can be discovered by the reader. Throughout, I find examples in which playacting begins as a comedic act, but acquires tragic potential when parents enter the scene. Here, I define tragedy not as a dramatic experience, but rather seemingly small injustices that, over time, cause more harm than good. In Mansfield Park, the tragedy is parental neglect and control. In Cranford, the tragedy is parental abuse. For both narratives, characters are unable to experience life fully, and past parental injuries cannot be redeemed. While all the children in the narratives experience some form of parental neglect, the marginalized children are harmed more than the others. In addition, I find that lifelong loneliness is a common theme in both narratives, showing that tragedy can lead to grief experienced in isolation.
  • There are no hurricanes in Michigan

    Shek, Ryan; Farmer, Daryl; Johnson, Sara; Reilly, Terry (2020-05)
    There are No Hurricanes in Michigan is a short story collection of rural noir predominantly set in Southwest Michigan, a region of both beauty and blight. These stories inhabit many places: trailers nestled in the forests of Allegan County, blueberry farms adorning the shores of Lake Michigan, decrepit barns, ornate courtrooms and the historic districts of Kalamazoo. The contrasts of these natural settings are captured in the collection's fictional characters. Rough-neck romantics, doped-up lawyers, principled abusers, repentant veterans, and hopeless farmers all navigate their own stories of violence, death and ruin. In doing so, each character exposes, or enacts, a combination of social issues unique to rural America. These issues include drug and alcohol abuse, agricultural exigency, domestic violence, sexual assault, violent crime, suicide, isolation, low educational attainment, poverty and unemployment. To lay these issues bare, while also underscoring their characters' redeeming integrities, each story largely relies on juxtaposition, symbolism, and personification for rhetorical effect.
  • Vestige

    Fultz, Venus; Soos, Frank; Johnson, Sara; Coffman, Chris (2020-05)
    Vestige is a fantasy novel that follows Delphine Ventadour's struggle to return home. Delphine is rescued from execution by a Priest who is the lover/bodyguard of a Prince. Both men try to convince her to accept her fate to become High Priestess of an ancient religion and marry his daughter. A major theme of Vestige is truth, explored not only in Delphine's struggle to know which characters and version of events to trust, but also in the novel's text. Vestige moves between a third-person omniscient point of view (POV) and Delphine's first-person POV. The switch between POVs provides an indication of telepathy and encourages the reader to participate in exploring truth. Poems appear in the text as a form of world-building and to further the theme of truth through various translations and the rewriting of a culture's history. Two other major themes in the novel closely circling one another are home and loneliness. In Delphine's perspective, the descriptions of Aerasha uses diction such as "rotting" "cursed" alongside imagery of hostility through and I contrast this with the place Delphine considers home to explore home and loneliness. The lack of trust Delphine cements her loneliness even when she finds herself liking other characters. I also explore home not only through the contrast with Aerasha and where Delphine grew up, but also through the contrast of Delphine's found family (Jean, Kokumo, Thema) back where she was raised and her bloodline family in Aerasha.
  • The deadly affairs of John Figaro Newton or a senseless appeal to reason and an elegy for the dreaming

    Campbell, Regan; Farmer, Daryl; Kamerling, Leonard; Coffman, Chris (2020-05)
    Are you really you? Are your memories true? John "Fig" Newton thinks much the same as you do. But in three separate episodes of his life, he comes to see things are a little more strange and less straightforward than everyone around him has been inured to the point of pretending they are; maybe it's all some kind of bizarre form of torture for someone with the misfortune of assuming they embody a real and actual person. Whatever the case, Fig is sure he can't trust that truth exists, and over the course of his many doomed relationships and professional foibles, he continually strives to find another like him--someone incandescent with rage, and preferably, as insane and beautiful as he.
  • Hearing colors

    Blackwood, Adrianne; Brightwell, Gerri; Farmer, Daryl; Reilly, Terry (2020-05)
    This thesis project is the first part of a historical fiction novel. It takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1910 and imagines the perspective of a sound-color synesthete named Bert Beasley, who witnessed the Wright brothers complete the first engine-powered flight. Bert wants to leave his home to pursue aviation but is unable to do so because he is needed to help run his family's failing general store. When Elisabeth Lavoie, a French musician, moves to town and buys a dilapidated house, Bert believes he'll be able to solve his problems by earning extra money as her repairman. However, her voice is purple--the only color he's never heard before--and her music changes colors, which shouldn't be possible. As he grows closer to Elisabeth, Bert becomes less sure that he wants to leave, but his decision is complicated once more when he learns that the Wright brothers have opened a flying school. The novel switches between the third-person points of view of Bert and Elisabeth. The dual perspectives provide insight into their individual inner conflicts--Bert longs to leave a home he loves as Elisabeth struggles to find a home she has lost--and demonstrates how their respective relationships with sound have shaped them into two people who have the potential to be a home for each other. The descriptions of synesthesia in this project present a creative interpretation of how color-sound combinations manifest themselves in synesthetes, both visually/audibly and emotionally. I conducted research to accurately portray the visual/auditory experiences of synesthesia, but I also took some artistic license in that the story implies that Bert's emotions, or the emotions of the musician playing the music he hears, has an effect on the color of the sound. This is not based on the known science of synesthesia but allowed for a deeper exploration of the characters' relationship and the question of home.
  • Misseri

    Aubuchon, David; Farmer, Daryl; Soos, Frank; Schell, Jen (2020-05)
    The nine stories in Misseri deal with the following themes: poverty, childhood abuse, sexism, and racism. These are the most obvious destructive components of what I will refer to as white trash culture. This thesis strives to honestly depict characters who have grown into adulthood in a white trash culture, regardless of whether they are white or male. The characters of these stories wrestle with destructive acts they have performed (or feel the impulse to perform), destructive acts they have witnessed, and destructive acts they have fallen victim to. Characters struggle for the self-awareness needed to give their actions agency: actions that follow a character's own sense of morals, rather than actions that are merely learned responses. The stories of Misseri are ordered by protagonists in the following way: from least selfaware male to most self-aware male, then from least self-aware female to most self-aware female. The collection starts with five first-person male narrators, hinges on a third-person omniscient narrator, and ends with three first-person female narrators. Half of the first-person stories are written from a close past-tense perspective. These narrators may not yet have the reflective distance or skills to contextualize and understand and respond to the story's events in helpful ways. The other half of the first-person stories are written with a present tense reflective voice. These present tense narrators recontextualize, explain, and often depart from their past perspective and past actions. These narrators model the act of learning from the past. It is my hope that the escalation of reflection and self-awareness throughout the collection can not only better contextualize the lives of white trash people but also show the progression one must often take to move away from socialized actions and reactions and toward agency, even if few of the characters perform monumental acts.
  • Shorebirds and other stories

    Amore, Martha; Coffman, Chris; Evans, Mei Mei; Lampman, Claudia; Brightwell, Gerri (2020-05)
    Shorebirds and Other Stories is a collection of original feminist gothic short fiction set in Alaska. A critical introduction to the creative portion situates the work within the historical context of feminist gothic literature, feminist theory, and contemporary feminist psychology, while rejecting an application of Julia Kristeva's theory of the abject. Kristeva's theory is commonly cited in gothic analyses of female monsters, but this introduction argues that her ideas position women in an essentialist, misogynist Freudian-based psychology, which is in stark contrast to feminist gothic literature's project of asserting women's subjectivity. Each short story in the creative portion reflects themes of maternal subjectivity, ambivalence, or abortion, while drawing inspiration from classic and contemporary feminist gothic literature. Moreover, the collection includes works of realism and the fantastic, the former genre revealing the deep humanity of women deemed monstrous by a patriarchal society, while the latter celebrates radical feminist difference in such monstrous tropes as the vampire, werewolf, and witch. In the tradition of feminist gothic literature, Shorebirds and Other Stories features "monstrous" women as protagonists, offering their perspectives, histories, complex emotions, and perseverance in the struggle for subjecthood.
  • Mythic women reborn: Djebar's Scheherazade & Atwood's Penelope

    Frentzko, Brianna Nicole; Brightwell, Geraldine; Harney, Eileen; Carr, Rich; Johnson, Sara Eliza (2019-05)
    This thesis examines how two modern female writers approach the retelling of stories involving mythic heroines. Assia Djebar's A Sister to Scheherazade repurposes Arabian Nights to reclaim a sisterly solidarity rooted in a pre-colonial Algerian female identity rather than merely colonized liberation. In approaching the oppressive harem through the lens of the bond between Scheherazade and her sister Dinarzade, Djebar allows women to transcend superficial competition and find true freedom in each other. Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad interrogates the idealized wife Penelope from Homer's Odyssey in order to highlight its heroine's complicity in male violence against women. Elevating the disloyal maids whom Odysseus murders, Atwood questions the limitations of sisterhood and the need to provide visibility, voice, and justice for the forgotten victims powerful men have dismissed and destroyed. The two novels signal a shift in feminist philosophy from the need for collective action to the need to recognize individual narratives. Both texts successfully re-appropriate the dominant myths they retell to propose a more nuanced and complicated view of what it means to be "Woman."
  • Selections from Nature's womb & perhaps her grave

    Frentzko, Brianna Nicole; Brightwell, Geraldine; Harney, Eileen; Carr, Rich; Johnson, Sara Eliza (2019-05)
    Traversing a wintry landscape filled with desperate scavengers who cannot die, a witch awaits a prophecy to lead her people to the light. Meanwhile, in London, the addictive virtual reality of the Undercity tears a family apart. And, on a distant island long ago, a young girl befriends an enigmatic sailor who emerges from under the sea on top a tattered black ship. These three worlds and the women within them are connected by a single choice made long ago that ripples through time and pushes them towards their own evolving destinies. This thesis comprises the first two of five sections ("books") in a novel entitled Nature's Womb & Perhaps Her Grave. Book I, "In Chains of Darkness," follows Witch-Woman, a crone living in a world of night and snow. When she adopts the mysterious Twice-Born-Child, Witch- Woman must navigate raising her defiant daughter as well as protecting Village by River from the threat of starvation or invading wild-ones. Book II, "The City of Ghosts," depicts the struggles of five women in a dysfunctional family. Elena tries to retrieve her daughter from the Undercity, Orpah awaits her opportunity to plug in to virtual reality, Ruth attempts to prevent the maidservant from bearing her son-in-law's baby, Deborah works to save her sister from damnation, and Beatrice must decide what to do with the illegitimate child she carries in her womb. All the while, London ticks closer and closer to the day when the real world will give way to the virtual dreams of the Undercity. Playing with Judea-Christian mythos and science fiction themes, Nature's Womb & Perhaps Her Grave is, at its heart, a story about mothers and daughters confronting the dangerous power, tremendous responsibility, and unforeseen consequences of rebellion.
  • "Dance, dance, dance: Alaska stories"

    Wise, Zoë E.; Soos, Frank; Johnson, Sara; Heyne, Eric (2019-05)
    Dance, Dance, Dance: Alaska Stories is a collection of young women's coming of age stories. The protagonists range in age from teenager to middle aged, and the circumstances that provoke their epiphanies include events spanning from the mundane to the dramatic, such as looking through a photo album, and death. Protagonists who move through these cumulative events seek to emerge from past identities and understandings of themselves. In all of these stories the Alaskan setting is important. Physical environment, in some stories, is only perceived to be a barrier; in other stories, the setting functions as a conflict that frustrates characters' desires. Regardless, all protagonists, to a degree, ultimately realize themselves to be a barrier, and must overcome internal conflicts before coming to terms with--or abandoning--their external environment. A technical aspect of these stories that I have particularly focused on developing is the varied point of view. The ranges of points of view in these stories include retrospective first person, second person, and third person limited. In this collection I focused on the irony that each point of view, when working with a coming of age story, can provide. Narrative distance in these stories is used to highlight the difference between what the characters know and understand and what we, the readers, understand about their situations
  • Floating: ruminations from the open-air abyss

    Nyberg, Brandi Jo Petronio; Farmer, Daryl; Soos, Frank; Schell, Jennifer (2019-05)
    This thesis is a collection of environmentally centered personal essays, some of which are also research driven. Many of the essays within are place-based and several reflect on what the word 'home' means. The research-driven essays involved conducting literature reviews within academic journals and, in some cases, weaving that information with personal narrative. Throughout the thesis, there is a loose narrative arc that follows the author's nomadic wanderings and search for home. Although a home is never quite found, the author does find a deeper meaning on what it means to call a place 'home.' While the order of essays jumps from one place to the next geographically, they are ordered in a chronological sense - although not completely. Throughout the collection, the author is in direct conversation with many writers who have inspired her own writing, including Edward Abbey, Henry Thoreau, Barry Lopez, and Terry Tempest Williams. The purpose of this project is not only to entertain readers but also to educate. The author hopes that her writing will encourage readers to strengthen their connection to place and the environment and become engaged with pressing environmental issues, such as mountaintop removal mining.
  • She lives in Ohio

    Luft, Andrew; Kamerling, Leonard; Johnson, Sara; Harney, Eileen (2019-05)
    Before the big screen, before an actor reads, before the assembly of a set, and before the word "film" is even uttered, a screenplay is written. The successful screenplay acts as a blueprint, or dramatic instructions, for a team of filmmakers. This screenplay may evolve over time, shrinking and expanding to fit the unique vision of a director or producer; as it should. The screenwriter's job is to write a story that is strong enough to withstand this trial period between page and screen. While the minute details may change, the story beating at the screenplay's center should survive, unphased. If the writer is in control, the screenplay will demand to someday be made into a film. She Lives in Ohio is a screenplay of the coming-of-age genre, part drama and part comedy. The story follows Jess, a typical LA teenager, as she navigates changes in both her family structure and her natural surroundings. Jess is torn from the comfort of her mother's side and shipped out east to Ohio, where she and her older brother will spend the summer with their eccentric Aunt Carrie. What begins as a colorful nightmare, soon turns into an exploration of Jess's roots that reveals more about her identity than she ever could have anticipated. In keeping with the coming-of-age genre, She Lives in Ohio depicts a pivotal moment in the protagonist's life as she is thrust out of her youth and into the reality of adulthood. However, unlike the classic coming-of-age narrative, the screenplay does not rely on internal monologue or voice-over. Rather, the story punctuates dialogue with manicured action, snippets of Midwest culture, and portraits of hobbyists and artists. Each character has her practice, her own way of integrating into her environment, which shows how she copes with her given position. This variety of themes serves to reflect the screenwriter's own fascination with the social roles that we both seek and are assigned.
  • Voices from the margins: seriality and the introductory writing classroom

    Cameron, Casie E.; Stanley, Sarah; Carr, Rich; Harney, Eileen (2019-05)
    In an era of great political division and fear of the "other," how can introductory writing classes do a better job of foregrounding marginalized voices and building classroom communities that value many different life experiences over the one presented in dominant discourse? By employing select features of the serial form including: worldbuilding for community, use of devices of continuity to bridge part-whole segmentation, and cyclical communication and recursive writing practices, voices and stories from the margins can break into dominant discourse. This paper begins and ends with my own story as it is spun and woven through the chapters. Between interludes, I initiate a layered exploration defining the origins and scope of the serial form, establish terms and identify storytelling devices that serials rely on for long-term, overarching, and influential success. Turning then to iterations of the modern serial, I explore the continued development of devices of continuity (the cliffhanger and the recap), develop further ideas of cyclical communication, and clarify how the modern serial is tied firmly with capitalism. After an analysis of the evolution of the serial form and its constituent parts, I suggest ways of incorporating certain strategies and devices of the serial form into the introductory writing classroom in order to build community; establish a cyclical, serialized communication through writing and sharing our individual stories; and normalizing outside voices. The implications of this investigation are that pedagogical repurposing of select devices of the serial can support writing instructors' efforts to amplify voices and stories from the margins bringing them into dominant discourse.

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