Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Committee Chair

Cary Holladay

Committee Member

Courtney Miller Santo

Committee Member

Carey James Mickaletes


No Place for Birds is a novel of twenty-four chapters following Cameron Oren, its defiant, emotionally damaged protagonist, into his life and struggles at a home for boys. While the plot trajectory of the traditional bildungsroman follows an arc toward a loss of innocence, marking the threshold between juvenile and mature, this novel is a coming of age story, but one moving in an alternative direction. It begins with a disillusioned, broken protagonist and moves through doubt, pain, and guilt toward inward healing and the reanimation of destroyed trust, toward hope. The novel, set in the desert southwest Mojave region, explores through three points of view the intersectionality of juvenile, minority offenders and poor, white juvenile offenders in a system built to house and auspiciously rehabilitate them. Consistent themes, found within all three points of view, include loss and the forms of grief it manifests, self doubt, acceptance of hard, ugly truths and the rediscovery of identity.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.