Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Pete Duval, MFA

Committee Member

Jacqueline Alnes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maureen McVeigh Trainor, MFA


This collection of stories was written to demonstrate a range of craft techniques in terms of point-of-view, tense, genre, perspective, and subject, and to take the author outside of her comfort zone of realistic fiction. Here, a steakhouse chef copes in a post-agricultural world, a mother dissects the death of her daughter, a man has a premonition of his own death, and, finally, a young girl suffering from OCD is faced with a “better” counterpart, catapulting a struggle with identity. Though the four stories differ in content, they are bound by overarching themes that explore the many facets of loss, and the psyche’s reaction to it. In these four stories, there are losses of employment, loved ones, sanity, and identity, and each protagonist reacts to these losses differently, teetering on the brink of madness. The stories are fictional, written in varieties of subgenre with realistic, speculative, and absurdist influences. Inspired by authors such as Shirley Jackson, Joy Williams, Jessica Treadway, J.D. Salinger, Jhumpa Lahiri, and George Saunders, among others, the author seeks to introduce her own voice following those she admires, whose glimpses into the lives of others have informed her own. This collection considers themes of mental illness and its treatment in society, climate change and the meat industry, and personal relationships and the ways in which they bind us past death or leave us strangers in our own homes.