Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Advisor

Morris, Keith L

Committee Member

Weise , Jillian

Committee Member

Bennett , Alma

Abstract

The stories presented in this thesis are written mainly in the vein of literary minimalism and post-Modernism. The stories focus on a variety of themes, as related to human emotions and reactions. The thesis begins with A Christmas Tree, which focuses on the opinions and reactions of a mentally-handicapped man as he struggles with his desires to be an average, contributing member of society. The second story in the collection, The Little Red Schoolhouse, focuses on sexuality and how pride and dishonesty can ruin an otherwise successful relationship.A Learned Helplessness and Supper Club, stories three and four in the collection, are written almost as diary excerpts, and they both focus on familial relationships and a sense of obligation one feels to protect family members from potentially harmful people/situations. The last story in the collection, entitled Bogey, takes a deeper look into characterization. In it, the reader must decide whether or not to support the main character in his endeavors to save his father from a life not worth living, or to disregard him as mentally unstable and his actions as unjustifiable.
As a whole, this collection was inspired by the works of Raymond Carver, the veritable father of literary minimalism; Donald Ray Pollack, a relatively new force on the scene, but one who shouldn't be taken lightly; Flannery O'Connor, master of the quietly disturbing; Dennis Johnson, a mix between Carver and O'Connor, and a writer who creates such unlikable, but loveable characters; and Philip Roth, whose American Pastoral encapsulates all of the characteristics I respect in current post-Modernism.

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