Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Committee Chair

Andrew Milward

Committee Chair Department

English

Committee Member 2

Steven Barthleme

Committee Member 2 Department

English

Committee Member 3

Craig Carey

Committee Member 3 Department

English

Abstract

The subject, style, and form of these stories are different from one another. At first glance, there seems to be no obvious thematic connection throughout this collection, no binding thread that ties them together. However, what allows these stories to exist side by side is their focus. The characters in these stories are human, no matter what situation they find themselves in, be it strange, fantastic, or mundane, they strive to achieve their desires. Each story takes a different approach to create a succinct feeling, all parts working toward eliciting a certain emotion. In one story, a family is powerless in the face of a blackout and the primal fear of darkness that consumes them one at a time. In another, a Ska band plays the best gig of their lives, a night full of promise that ends in betrayal as the lead guitar tries to steal from the band, only to find years later that none of their problems or apparent successes mattered. A man who suffers from a sleep disorder that causes him to die instead of sleep is disillusioned with the girl he thinks he loves and a married couple must deal with their dead son’s dog, who they’ve never met. The strangeness of life and fantasy are woven through most of these stories, but not as a driving force. That belongs to the people of the story, the attention is always on the characters, even if they’re being buried in their car by leaves flowing in through the vents.

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