Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Steven Barthelme

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Anne Sanow

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Emily Stanback

Committee Member 3 Department



The stories that follow in this collection attempt to reveal studies in characters facing loneliness, and to do so by following Alice Munro’s conception of plot—the notion that characters shape the plot according to their position in the various “rooms” of the story. Feelings of loneliness look different for everyone, and necessitate many different methods of filling that hole. In these stories, many variations of loneliness are explored. A Vietnam veteran struggles to find healing through the adoption of his young godson, whose father was his best friend in the war; a lady in Surrey, England, takes a trip in magical realism when her childhood woodland sprite appears and accuses her of abandonment; and a young lady attempts to find her identity in a local Renaissance festival with an artisan blacksmith. A college girl helps a socially awkward, intellectually brilliant roommate and learns the instinct for and gratitude of loyalty, and a woman from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, questions her sense of belonging and her childhood troubles when she takes her girlfriend to see her hometown. In Florida, a therapist in Tampa finds herself falling for her client, a musical genius, and abandons her principles for the daring possibility of happiness, while, finally, a horseback riding instructor in Ocala has old wounds of chronic depression reopened by the visit of her troubled sister and the guilt-ridden attempt to help her.