Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

Thin Bodies

Date of Award

1-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.F.A. in Creative Writing

Department

English

First Advisor

Tom Franklin

Second Advisor

Megan Abbott

Third Advisor

Beth Ann Fennelly

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

Thin Bodies, is a fictional thriller revolving around a retrospective, female voice. It is a short novel-length view into the insular community of the sorority, specifically in the U.S. Deep South. The town and university are both fictional, as are the characters, sororities, and events, but they are based in realistic institutions of socialization and community. Sarah Beth, our protagonist and narrator, considers her coming-of-age through her recruitment, initiation, ensuing leadership, and eventual fall from grace in her sorority, Theta Kappa. The group of women that this novel intends to characterize struggle with identity and how they are perceived against standards of class, race, and gender. The novel's perspective is one that is removed from the present action but attempts to keep the reader within the narrative, moving from scene to scene chronologically, in short, fast-paced chapters, and culminating in the suicide of a sorority member. Sarah Beth provides occasional hindsight and ultimately reaches the realization that these social institutions function in order to reproduce themselves, and in the case of Theta Kappa, this reproduction has been occurring for more than 150 years. The novel has a gothic tone mixed with dark humor in order to occupy a dual space of entertainment and literary value.

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