Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Keith L Morris

Committee Member

Nic Brown

Committee Member

Maya Hislop


This thesis consists of two components: one critical and one creative. The critical component traces the differing approaches in which contemporary fiction successfully reflects the human experience, particularly concerning the breakdown of relationships. By focusing on the realism of Amy Hempel and speculative fiction of Kristen Roupenian and Karen Russell, I examine the multiple ways in which short fiction can achieve that goal. The creative—and primary—component consists of a collection of short stories, entitled Something I Don’t Know. These stories are my effort to explore the same truths as the aforementioned authors, while employing the various methods discussed.



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