• 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.