Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Maureen McVeigh-Trainor, MFA, MA

Committee Member

Jacqueline Alnes, PhD, MFA

Committee Member

Cherise Pollard, PhD, MA


The Provis Lotteries is a contemporary fiction retelling of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, stylized as a narrative nonfiction written by a firsthand witness to the events enclosed herein. Clay Keliher is working as an assistant librarian in a small historical New Jersey farming town when he receives a mysterious letter with a unique proposal. An anonymous donor would like to pay off all the debts incurred by Clay in installments, but with a catch. The donor discloses that they themselves are the reclusive and nameless founder of the Provis Company, a mysterious organization that encourages individuals to enter its monthly lotteries—the winners of which receive enough money to pay off their debts in full. Clay must become the spokesperson and public face of Provis and choose lottery entries himself; his family’s debt will be paid off in installments for as long as he stays in the role. What initially appears to be a compelling offer and easy decision quickly spirals, as Clay struggles with entering a corrupt network of corporate dynasties and with deciding who is worthy of charity money. Now, years after the legendary collapse and dissolution of the Provis Company, a witness is sharing their experience to set the record straight and clarify the cultural significance of the Provis Company’s legacy—and, more importantly, Clay’s legacy.