Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Committee Chair

John Bensko

Committee Member

Leslie Graff


The five works of fiction in this collection aim to examine the role of family as a unit of order, and the ways in which this order defines identity, determines and subverts behavior, tempers or inflates expectations, and substitutes domestic politics for socio-cultural realities. These stories feature characters bewildered by the fluid boundaries between the personal and the social, by how the sacrifices and mistakes made in the family alter their experience in the public sphere, and by how the sacrifices and mistakes made in the public sphere upend or destroy the family. The range of ages depicted highlights the juxtaposition of characters unready for the responsibility family confers on them with characters denied the authority they believe they have earned, while the diverse eras and passages of time presented explore the larger evolution of family dynamics against the essential stasis of individual family hierarchies. Above all, these stories aim to consider the strange balance of the intimate and the taboo in family structures, the clash between the high standards we hold our family members to, and the necessity of forgiving their trespasses and failures.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

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