• A World Of Difference: Emma Wolf, A Jewish-American Writer On The American Frontier

      Mandel, Dena Toni Cooper; Schuldiner, Michael (2008)
      "A World of Difference: Emma Wolf, A Jewish-American Writer on the American Frontier" is the first dissertation to undertake a scholarly inquiry of Wolf's Jewish novels, Other Things Being Equal and Heirs of Yesterday. Emma Wolf (1865--1932) was a Jewish-American literary pioneer who interrogated prevailing models of late nineteenth-century femininity, Judaism, and bifurcated, Jewish-American identity. This study retrieves the fiction of this native Californian from the margins of both Jewish and American literature. At the close of the nineteenth century, nearly all interest in American-Jewish life focused on the Eastern European Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side of New York City. Emma Wolf's fiction imparts a singular glimpse of a Western American enclave of Jewish life. Remarkably, Wolf's Jewish novels resist the prevailing patterns of assimilation espoused by most Jewish writers at the end of the century. Instead of abandoning culture, faith, and family, Wolf embraces Jewish particularity. The preservation of Jewish identity in Wolf's fiction is a consequence of her American birth, her California origins, and her conviction that Jewish difference is as important as American conformity. Other Things Being Equal (1892) scrutinizes the struggle of a young Jewish woman who wants to marry a Christian. In sanctioning intermarriage, the novel abrogates religious precepts and contravenes the customary marital patterns of Jewish women. The implications of intermarriage afford Wolf the opportunity to expand on issues of Jewish affirmation and Jewish difference. In Heirs of Yesterday (1900) Wolf examines divergent responses of Jewish-Americans to anti-Semitism. In order to protect himself from discrimination, Dr. Philip May hides his Jewish birth. Wolf suggests that Jews who are forgetful of their ethnic identity are as misguided as the segment of American society that discriminates against them. This study of Emma Wolf's Jewish novels concludes that we must take a new literary census, one that embraces minority writers, like Emma Wolf, in order to appreciate the pluralism of the American literary canon and the full panoply of the nation's cultural productivity.
    • African rooster

      Lybrook, Christian David (2001-05)
      'African Rooster' takes place in Lesotho, a tiny country surrounded by South Africa at a time of considerable tension. In 1994, South Africa is in the infancy of its democracy and Lesotho is thrown into turmoil with its own coup d'état. John David ("Jed") Kendall, a white, middle-class American, is thrown into this world as a nominal missionary balancing his own cultural and moral baggage with African sensibilities. My first choice of first person narrative allows for an examination of racial and cultural questions in African society without my narrator having to assume an air of authority that a third person might convey. It also allows more sympathy with Jed's sometimes unsympathetic character. Thematic notions of loyalty, justice, and racism propel the principal relationship between Jed/Senate and his 'brother, ' Tsediso. Their interactions become the primary vehicle for examining cultural, racial, and moral conflicts within Jed
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • #Apologize

      Newman Sadiik, Kendell; Brightwell, Geraldine; Hill, Sean; Stanley, Sarah (2015-12)
      Mass shootings in the United States have become common, as has the media response to them. This novel investigates the fictional story of one such shooting and the life of its perpetrator, Gray Jenkins, in the weeks leading up to the attack. Using alternating points of view, it begins with Gray's life in New York with flashbacks to his Virginia childhood and abusive relationship with older brother, James. The narrative moves to Gray's childhood home and investigates the perspectives of his family as they encounter him for the first time in three years. In the final section of the novel, a curated collection of news media and journal entries from Gray's mother, Carolyn, tells the post-attack story. This novel explores themes of blame, guilt, and regret as it grapples with the contemporary problem of mass tragedy in the United States.
    • As far as the light will carry

      Ragan, Ryan (2012-05)
      The following poems are an exploration of memory and the limitations of distance and as it relates to the illumination of internal and external spaces. The metaphor of light is a repeated trope employed lyrically here to both root the content of the collection as a whole in the idea of "bringing things into the light," and the trope is also used to notion toward the spiritual aspects of light as it relates to Scriptural ideologies. While each poem is written to stand alone within its own context, the loose narrative of the collection as a whole is intended to allow the reader to connect one poem to another through repeated images, similar revelations, emotions, form and content. At its core, this collection borders on the surrealistic, yet juxtaposes imaginative situations with real-life experiences or personas to compliment difficult or seemingly out-of-place imagery or circumstances.
    • Author as ethnographer: The merging of genres in Raymond Carver's and Thomas Pynchon's texts

      Snyder, Megan Dawn; Bird, Roy K. (1999)
      Several of Raymond Carver's short stories and two of Thomas Pynchon's novels are analyzed for their ability to function as ethnography, through which they reveal the dominant and dominated codes in American culture. These texts were approached from an interdisciplinary stance, using theories and concepts from literary criticism, cultural anthropology, and sociology in order to interpret them with a greater degree of accuracy; because the text is treated as an ethnographic representation of a culture, it is possible to turn to it as the sole illustration of cultural elements and, in doing so, to be more open to addressing themes that the text explicates, rather than approaching the it with a preconceived agenda of what necessarily constructs American culture. By focusing in this manner on Carver's and Pynchon's texts as accounts of what is to be "American," it is possible to remain closer to what the texts portray and to avoid misreadings as well as misinterpretations of culture. Through these authors' representations of characters who defy mainstream cultural codes, the reader encounters in these authors' works what mainstream America finds most unsettling: characters who are not only alienated, but also aware of their status as outsiders and, more frequently than not, choose to embrace deviance in their self-definitions. Carver and Pynchon, when taken together, afford the reader with a vision of our culture that explores the dissociation and alienation that cuts through our society regardless of class or background. In their varying presentations of reality, they offer complementary views of distinct American subcultures that feature characters who are isolated and who generally denounce mainstream ideals. Conformist society is merely hinted at within the texts; its presence appears through its absence, characters' recognition of what they are denying, and what characters are denied. Both authors feature characters who identify aberrant behavior, for which rule-breaking individuals are labeled. Characters, once labeled, adopt secondary deviance and instigate a deviant career, from which the authors rarely permit a reprieve. The effect of labeling is the creation of a schism in the social fabric of American culture, which is characterized by the societal exclusion of individuals who do not uphold the dominant beliefs. American culture is also characterized by assimilation; as characters in Carvers and Pynchon's texts resist this process, they pose a threat to the social order, which is the prime factor in their labeling.
    • The average American

      Stolz, A. Digger (2004-08)
      'The Average American' is a screenplay crafted in the modern, mixed-genre tradition. Both comedic and dramatic elements are woven into a road movie structure. At its core, 'The Average American' questions the purpose and power of literature and explores how our society values the written word. This exploration is important because advances in technology and media increasingly threaten literature's place as a tool of communication. The protagonist, Art Spender, a disillusioned literary agent, journeys across the American Midwest in search of a mysterious writer whose brilliant new novel has piqued the interests of a New York publishing house. Ultimately, through interactions with various Americans during his journey into the heartland, Art discovers reasons to continue wading through the countless manuscripts that inundate his day to day existence.
    • Beneath the terrible surface

      Lagergren, Jenny Kristine (2002-05)
      'Beneath the terrible surface' is concerned with connections among people, animals, objects, and land that are important, but subtle and often overlooked. The poems are concrete and find meaning through a moment slowed downed and viewed from a new angle, which ultimately conveys emotion. While moments are described, the goal is not description, but exploration. A point in time becomes important by what happens or does not happen and by what is noticed and felt by the speakers and characters. Though not always positive, they detail an awareness of the intricate, important and sometimes invisible connections between many forms of life. The collection contemplates what it takes to love a landscape, appreciate animals, and notice, react, and care for life that does not lend itself to immediate liking.
    • Between us

      Mulcrone, Katherine Jean (2005-05)
      Between Us is the first-person account of Louise Halsey's return to her childhood home after her brothers' tragic motorcycle accident. Her brother Danny lies unconscious, but the strength of their bond grants Louie unexpected encounters with him inside the family home. Her conversations with Danny force Louie to reconsider the issues that have driven her family apart and her role in them. The novel begins with a series of vivid dreams which disconcert Louie and lay the groundwork for her to begin piecing together the unraveling of her family. Current sentiments as expressed and relationships as presented in Louie's conversations with family members are echoed by her memories of past events. Danny's death leads Louie to acknowledge that although rebuilding her family requires difficult work, it is work worth doing.
    • Birdcatchers

      Keenan, Brian M. (2007-05)
      The four short stories and novella of Birdcatchers explore the choices that people make or fail to make at moments when different ways of knowing and conducting themselves in their circumstances become possible. The narrator of the title story, for instance, struggles to deal with his isolation and loneliness in the wake of his wife's death; when the protagonist of 'Tunnel of Love' finds the delicate balance of his double life upset, he ultimately manages to reclaim a realistic connection with his lover and broader world. Regardless of the success or failure each character experiences, though, the stories suggest that in our lonely and isolated individual lives, the potential for meaningful connection-and maybe some measure of grace-does exist.
    • Bitter

      Johnson, August; Hill, Sean; Stanley, Sarah; Carr, Rich; Jones, Seth (2017-05)
    • Book clubs in the ESL classroom: a microinteractional analysis of literacy development in adult ESL students

      Johnson, Sharon E.; Carr, Richard; Heyne, Eric; Martelle, Wendy (2016-12)
      This study uses conversation analysis to identify literacy development in adult ESL classroom book club discussions. The investigation focuses on the interactions of three university students participating in a six-week book club about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The longitudinal microethnographic analysis reveals the students' development of interactional routines for enacting topic transitions. Two student strategies are examined: (a) the development of a group routine for reading discussion questions aloud; and (b) the use of the transition markers okay and next. The students' establishment of these strategies during the six meetings provides evidence of literacy development during classroom book club discussions. Additionally, the research adds to the currently small corpus of conversation analysis book club studies. Full transcripts for the six book club meetings are also provided.
    • Border patrol

      Iseri, Erica Keiko (2000-12)
      'Border Patrol deals with people across geographical as well as cultural and linguistic lines.' So reads a sentence from the penultimate story of this thesis. While the main characters are all either Japanese or Japanese-American, and they live in Japan or Southern California or Fairbanks, Alaska, the stories explore such universal issues of love, obligation, and freedom. The characters' ethnicity and place serve mainly to inform the larger themes. The point of view from which the stories are told varies from story to story, from a young third person female to a middle-aged first person male. The amount of time in which the stories take place differs as well, from minutes to decades. The stories themselves, though, concern the characters' struggle for independence from constricting relationships and a search for identity through a passion--golf, music, origami. The line between dependence and inner strength is the border that they walk.
    • Breaking ground

      Peters, Kevin C. (2005-12)
      'Breaking Ground' is a collection of poems that follows a narrative arc as the speaker transitions from youth to adulthood. Set in the farmlands of Wisconsin, the manuscript examines numerous relationships: between men and women, children and parents, people and the land, and native and non-native inhabitants of the land. The manuscript addresses the idea of displacement: what it means to belong somewhere, to call someplace home, and what results when that home must be left behind or returned to. This idea is examined through poems about native culture, poems about divorce and the dissolution of a family, as well as poems about how a father dealt with the trauma of returning from Vietnam. Overall, the manuscript is a story of both a family and a region, and how those apparently separate entities-people and place-are intrinsically linked.
    • Carpenters daughter

      Osier, Jill N. (2000-05)
      Carpenter's Daughter reveals the construction and reconstruction a woman understands her life to be. Acknowledging the creation of identity through the tools of history, memory, dream, and imagination, it further explores where these worlds converge at different points along the path from child to girl to woman. The poems are equally concerned with dynamics beyond a sense of self--particularly how things come together and come apart. In both the realm of nature and that of human emotion, the speakers are confronted by tenuous connections and surprising holds, moved by the frailties lying beneath solid foundations and the grace witnessed in failing frames. Though several poems use formal patterns of line or stanza, most work in free verse and are driven by narrative, image, or voice. These also provide thematic links throughout the collection, their echoes serving to fully present ideas as well as celebrate sound.
    • Cheechako Teacher: Narratives Of First -Year Teachers In Rural Alaska

      Carter, Stephen Ruben; Bird, Roy (2006)
      Seventy percent of teachers in rural Alaska come from the lower 48, most having little to no introduction to the culture they are entering or what will be asked of them as teachers. The turnover rate of teachers in rural Alaska far outstrips the national average; in some rural districts turnover is nearly 100 percent each year. This leads us to conclude that the first year of teaching in rural Alaska must be highly charged experience. Though many studies have been done on first-year teachers in rural Alaska, none has focused on the teachers' personal writings produced while in the midst of their experience. This study is a narrative inquiry into the first-person accounts of first-year teachers in rural Alaska from 1896 to 2006. The study constructs "plot points" (meaning events and tensions that drive the teachers' narratives) that delimit the structure of the average first-year Alaskan teacher story. The accounts are divided into two sections: historical accounts and contemporary accounts. Each of these sections is divided according to a series of plot points, namely: (1) the decision, (2) the arrival, (3) the first day of school, (4) collisions, (5) integration, and (6) effectiveness (historical section only), and (7) the final decision (contemporary teachers only). The study points out the similarities and contrasts between historical accounts and contemporary accounts and seeks to bring these into dialogue with Alaska-specific pedagogical theories. The study concludes that the utility of first year teachers' writings is not derived from their prescriptions, but their descriptions. Thus, the study recommends (1) that more first-person written narratives be gathered from first-year teachers in rural Alaska to facilitate a more in depth study, (2) that new teachers in Alaska avail themselves of the written narratives of their professional forebears, (3) that Alaska's public education system create room for first-year teachers to tell their stories in non judgmental settings, and (4) that future study also focus on perceptions of first-year teachers by their students and village.
    • The child soldier experience in Uzodinma Iweala's "Beasts of no nation"

      Gurley, Nicole (2007-05)
      Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation plays an integral role in raising awareness of the child soldier epidemic. It portrays this global issue through the eyes of Agu, the child narrator. This thesis attempts to understand the extent to which Agu's experiences with the rebel group as well as his participation in war affect him. Agu struggles to maintain his identity during his exposure to and forced involvement in rape, thievery, and murder. His age leaves him particularly vulnerable to the ravages of war, and although Agu succeeds in maintaining some of his identity, he is eventually alienated from himself and others. Nevertheless, Agu's enthusiasm and resilience show him capable of reintegration, despite the rehabilitation center's inadequacies. He faces the challenges of rejoining normal society, overcoming his guilt, and reclaiming his identity, but his healing is restricted through the center's emphasis on Western methods of healing. Other rebels like Luftenant, Griot, and Rambo are also victimized. Their ruthless barbarity partially results from their sense of powerlessness in a chaotic world. Yet their humanity appears in small demonstrations of restraint and helplessness, thus indicating the hope for all child soldiers' capacity for rehabilitation.
    • Complicating Swinburne's heroines

      Malmberg, Chris (2012-05)
      The temporary resurgence in Swinburne's popularity in the late sixties and early seventies manifested itself predominantly as explorations into what forms the poet's peculiar sexuality and painful romantic history took in his work. This thesis turns the focus of Swinburnian criticism to his texts, specifically to the heroines in two of his works whom I believe have gone largely underappreciated: Atalanta of Atalanta in Calydon, and Chthonic of Erechtheus. First, this thesis shifts focus from Swinburne's biography to the heroines' mythical Greek constructions, while at the same time complicating that classical context by presenting evidence that Swinburne, though he revered classical Greece, was not attempting to mimic the traditional Greek style. Then, this thesis explores Erechtheus and Atalanta in Calydon individually in order to show how the heroines of each piece exhibit significantly more agency over, and responsibility for, the course of events surrounding them than has previously been appreciated. In positions of power over the courses of events in which they are involved, their seeming dispassion is more generative when it is viewed as resolve, indicative of consciousness and feeling underneath a visage that has accepted what must be, and refuses to suffer for what cannot be.
    • Connecting places: writing about and with Portal

      Avery, Victoria L.; Stanley, Sarah; Harney, Eileen; Heyne, Eric (2014-12)
      Shannon Carter's pedagogy of rhetorical dexterity involves students using a familiar literacy at a meta-level to make sense out of an unfamiliar one. I used her pedagogy, as well as insights from James Paul Gee and John Dewey, in designing a 213x course on writing technologies. The writing prompt for the second unit asked students to write about their inquiry into the game space and reflect on how their experiences met up with research about video games in American society in general. The unit was sequenced with the intention that students would look at their own familiar literacies, understand them on a meta-level, before inquiry into "Portal." To understand one thing in terms of another is a metaphorical, conceptual understanding. Therefore, I use George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's theories on metaphorical language to analyze student writing. The second unit project involved students navigating multiple digital contexts: Google Drive, WordPress, class discussions, and the video game "Portal." My research investigates: How did students understand "Portal"? What role did "Portal" play in identity construction in my class?