Honors Theses

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Beth Ann Fennelly

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

These are a collection of five short stories. Their common feature is the use of the first-person perspective. The intent of these prose experiments was to find the limitations of the first-person narrative, to see how it could be disfigured and reborn. In preparation, I read several books with my advisor that are known for their strong first-person voices. These included: If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home by Tim O’Brien, Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller, The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, Birds of America by Lorrie Moore, and The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel. I also undertook personal research, drawing inspiration from the writings of Stephen Dixon and Larry Brown, among others. What I found was that, for all the rules that are often associated with short story writing, successful stories are as unalike as possible. I began to feel I had the right to experiment in every facet of my work. Under the direction of my advisor, I learned to mettle these flights of imagination with sense and taste. The result is a chapbook of very short fiction, sometimes funny, often mean, with its fingers on the pulse of modernity.

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